If you’ve noticed that your energy dips after lunch or you are tired during the day, it may be time to incorporate some healthy habits into your daily routine to increase your energy.
- Stay hydrated.
Drinking more water and staying hydrated can help you avoid getting tired. Some studies suggest that even mild dehydration can slow your metabolism and sap your energy. Aim for drinking at least eight cups of water each day.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, energy, and fiber that your body needs. Fruits and vegetables are also full of water, which helps you to stay well-hydrated. Try starting meals with fruits or vegetables and incorporate them into your meals and snacks.
- Choose whole grains.
Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains are filled with fiber, which helps keep your energy-levels steady throughout the day. Foods like whole grains are rich in carbohydrates, the body’s preferred source of fuel, and they raise levels of the feel-good chemical, serotonin. In contrast, many sweets and processed grains cause blood sugar to spike and crash, which can make you feel tired and moody.
- Choose magnesium-rich foods.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a key role in using carbohydrates for fuel. Not getting enough magnesium in your diet can drain your energy. Some foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds, cashews, and dark chocolate.
- Include protein in meals and snacks.
When you eat protein with meals and snacks, it keeps blood sugar levels steady by preventing blood sugar spikes and dips, which create a sense of fatigue. Lean pork, lean beef, skinless chicken, and turkey are sources of protein that include the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine triggers brain chemicals like dopamine, which can help you feel more alert and focused.
- Choose smart snacks.
Snacks found in a vending machine or convenience store are often full of sugar, saturated and trans fats, salt, and other highly processed ingredients—these are all energy drainers! Instead, pack healthy snacks to eat in-between meals to keep your energy levels high throughout the day. Try keeping healthy, portable snacks in single serving containers in your desk, backpack or car.
- Plan meals and snacks ahead.
Aim for three meals and a couple healthy snacks each day to keep your energy high. Planning your meals and snacks ahead will ensure that you have healthy food whether you’re eating at home, packing lunch, or having a snack on the go. An eating plan for the day will help to keep you on track.
- When eating, eat.
Doing things like watching TV, reading, or talking on the phone while eating may lead to you eating more than you think. Also, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your body has had enough to eat. So, when eating, only eat. Try to sit down and be mindful. Focus on your food when you eat and avoid distractions.
- Find physical activities that you enjoy.
Physical activity is important for your health and fitness, but it also promotes a feeling of well-being and increased energy. Pick activities you enjoy like walking, running, or biking and do at least ten minutes of physical activity each time. Aim for two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week.
- Set healthy and realistic goals.
Setting realistic goals and making step-by-step changes will help you to develop healthy habits and increase your energy naturally. Try logging your diet, activity, and energy level to track your progress. A notebook works well, or you can try an online program or smartphone app.
Keeping your energy up throughout the day can help you be more productive and feel happier!
Did You Know?
Even mild dehydration can decrease your energy level.
Whole grains have fiber, protein, and many vitamins and minerals that support increased energy.
Incorporating protein at each meal can help you maintain energy levels throughout the day.