Eat for more energy
The foods you eat have a huge impact on your energy levels, and taking in the right ones can keep you on your game all day. Healthy, energizing foods also help you resist having unhealthy snacks at 3 p.m. (we see you, chips), which messes with your blood sugar, leaving you even droopier. Eating at regular intervals lets you be steadily fueled, says Joan Salge Blake, R.D.N., a clinical associate professor at Boston University, so incorporate these pickme-up eats into your day.
Choose whole-grain, high-fiber carbs like bulgur wheat. With 8 grams of fiber per serving, it slows digestion, providing sustained energy. “Fiber helps to control blood sugar, which is important because we get tired when it dips,” says Rachel Lustgarten, R.D., of Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. Take a pass on high-carb foods that have been stripped of their fiber (ahem, white bread), as they quickly spike blood sugar. TRY THIS: Mix 1 cup prepared bulgur wheat with chopped fresh parsley, chopped tomato, and chickpeas plus a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice for a delicious grain salad.
They’re packed with protein and a little fat, both of which are helpful for all-day oomph. “This combination slows down nutrient absorption in the small intestine, meaning you’ll feel full and energized longer,” says Blake. Research also shows that protein and fat help stimulate satiety hormones, helping you resist the midday munchies.
TRY THIS: Scramble 2 eggs with ¼ cup canned black beans and 2 Tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese. Tuck the eggs into 2 corn tortillas and top with 1 Tbsp each salsa and chopped scallions for simple breakfast tacos.
This melon is a good source of potassium and is made up of 90% water, two things that help you stay bright-eyed. “Potassium is one of the electrolytes your body needs and is important for proper hydration, energy balance, and preventing fatigue,” says Lustgarten. “And fatigue can be a symptom of even slight dehydration.”
TRY THIS: Fold ½ cup blueberries and a pinch of cinnamon into 1/3 cup partskim ricotta cheese. Spoon the mixture into half of a hollowed-out cantaloupe. Top with 1 Tbsp sliced almonds.
For many of us, a little caffeine is sometimes—OK, often—necessary. Matcha tea has more caffeine than other types of green tea, but it contains an amino acid that has a calming effect, so it won’t make you as jittery as coffee will. “There’s research to support moderate caffeine as a part of a balanced lifestyle,” says Lustgarten. “It may enhance physical performance and support mental acuity.”
TRY THIS: Mix 1 tsp matcha powder with ¼ cup hot water, whisking rapidly for 1 to 2 minutes. Combine with hot, frothy milk and stir.
Add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to taste if desired.