Top Ten Tips for Staying Energized All Day
By Monique Ryan
These ten tips will keep you energized all day, from the time you wake up until the time you head to bed.
- Start the day right — yes, that means breakfast. Combine a whole grain with fruit, skim dairy or soy milk and even add some lean protein to the mix to sustain energy levels throughout the morning.
- Have a mid-morning snack that combines protein and carbohydrate, like yogurt and protein, or low-fat cottage cheese and fruit. It is fine to be hungry mid-morning, so honor your hunger and give your body fuel when it is asking for it.
- Eat lunch on time. Pushing back lunch until you are ravenous, instead of just at a normal level of hunger, won’t help your nutrition. Eating “on time” will provide mid-day fuel right when you need it and keep your blood glucose levels nice and steady.
- Boost your mental energy with nature’s brain nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids. Add light tuna or salmon to your lunchtime food choices, as well as walnuts, tofu, and canola oil. Other healthy fats can keep you feeling full longer, so add small amounts to meals and snacks. Good choices include avocado and almonds.
- Start the day with moderate caffeine levels and keep caffeine intake modest. While it does increase mental energy, too much caffeine can lead to energy highs and then lows and interfere with quality sleep.
- Limit processed foods high in sugar, and avoid the office candy jar, treats, and vending machine whenever possible. Processed foods do not provide sustained energy and can result in low moments during the day.
- Consume foods high in folate. Higher levels of blood folate have been associated with faster and better thought processing. Good sources include lentils, chickpeas, black beans, asparagus, broccoli, avocado and orange juice. Vitamins B6, found in bananas and spinach, and B12, found in lean proteins and skim dairy products, are also important.
- Have an afternoon snack if dinner is late, or if you have an evening workout scheduled. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat yogurt provide energizing carbohydrate.
- Consume complex carbohydrates that contain fiber. The fiber allows the carbohydrates to be released more slowly, providing sustained energy. Opt for whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and whole grain cereals.
- Stay hydrated. About two-thirds of our body is water and dehydration can contribute to reduced energy levels. About 80-percent of the fluid we consume comes from the fluids we drink, and the other 20-percent from foods. Always drink when you are thirsty and have water available during the day to hydrate regularly.
Monique Ryan, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN is the leading endurance sports nutritionist. Her nearly 30 years of professional experience working with Olympic (consultant to USAT and USA Cycling), elite and age group endurance athletes and professional sports teams make her one of the most experienced and qualified sports nutritionists in the U.S. Ryan is founder of Chicago-based Personal Nutrition Designs and the best-selling author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes (3rd edition, VeloPress) and three other sports nutrition books. PND provides detailed nutrition plans for triathletes across North America competing in all race distances, with programs at www.moniqueryan.com. Ryan is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.