There’s nothing quite as invigorating as the start of a brand new day. You’re full of energy, motivation, and spark, and you just can’t wait to charge out into the world and make life happen. But, even for the best for us, that energy can wear off as the day chugs along. Before you know it, you’re dragging from one task to the next and desperate for a midday nap.
Lucky for you, we’ve devised a short list of some great foods and recipes to keep your energy sustained throughout the day. Check them out below and give the recipes a try.
Plain white rice and breads can cause blood-sugar crashes that can leave you feeling drained halfway through your day and needing to eat. Choose quinoa instead. It’s a gluten-free, low-glycemic grain that breaks down more slowly to give you a steadier dose of energy.
And quinoa is very versatile. Just take a look at all these great recipes involving this super grain.
Lentils may be tiny, but when it comes to steady energy, they are mighty. Their high fiber content slows your body’s process of turning carbohydrates into the glucose for fuel. This means they’ll give you a slow, but steadier, supply of energy for much longer than other carb-loaded foods.
Bananas that are still somewhat green are a lower-glycemic source of carbohydrates and natural sugars called fructose. Both fuel your body and brain to give you energy. Bananas also contain tyrosine, an amino acid that—according to recent studies—can promote energy, alertness, and motivation.
Best of all, bananas are easy to carry wherever you go. They literally come with their own natural, protective packaging. So stash a few in your purse or backpack and you’re good to go.
4. Fatty Fish
It’s clear as water that fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are great sources of protein and omega-3s. But they also provide vitamin B12, which works with folic acid to produce red and white blood cells. Maintaining optimal levels of red blood cells in your body supports healthy energy metabolism.
To check out some healthy salmon recipes, click here.
5. Sweet Potatoes
One medium-sized sweet potato contains up to 23 grams of carbohydrates and 3.8 grams of fiber. This dynamic duo provides you with a steady supply of energy. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of manganese, which helps your body produce energy.
This eggscelent source of protein and iron can also help keep your body running all day. Protein itself gives you a steadier source of energy without causing spikes in blood sugar or insulin. Eggs also contain choline, a B-vitamin to help with energy production.
It’s clearly not a food, but water is the building block of life. Not drinking enough water or getting enough through foods can lead to dehydration—slowing down your body functions, making you feel weak and lethargic. Practice healthy hydration by making sure you drink plenty of water.
Now you know the ideal foods to help you through that infamous midday slump. But if you want a little more info on what foods to avoid, just ask the scientists.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever struggled to live a healthy lifestyle. I know I sure have. And it can be super easy to feel down on yourself every time you skip the gym or choose drive-thru for dinner. Especially when you see all the moms on Instagram who post videos of their insane home workouts and healthy meals (while somehow still managing to raise their kiddos), or the pics of the shirtless guys by the pool with abs for days.
If we’re comparing ourselves to some perfect image of health, it’s no wonder living a healthy lifestyle can seem so daunting.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard.
Here are three small ways you can get started living a healthy lifestyle today.
1: Drink Up
If you think about it, water is pretty darn important. About 71 percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water, and about 60 percent of the adult human body is made of water. So if you thought you were a meat suit running around, think again. You’re really more of a mermaid. YAS!
Here’s just a few of the benefits that come from drinking water:
Can help increase energy and relieve fatigue
Helps to flush out toxins
May improve your skin complexion
Aids in circulation and digestion
Helps maintain body temperature and absorption
Water You Waiting For?
Make it a habit to keep a water bottle on hand. Keep one at your desk, throw in one your gym bag, and even keep a glass on your kitchen table—wherever you need a visual reminder to drink up.
When was the last time you took a drink of water? (Take a swig now.)
2: Meal Prep
Unfortunately, it’s true what they say—beach bods are made in the kitchen. If your goal is to lose fat or build more muscle, eating healthy meals is a must. Fortunately, this is where meal prepping can be extremely helpful. Not only will this prevent the McDonald’s employees from knowing you on a first-name basis, but you’ll save on money and time as well. Think about it—buying food in bulk to prepare healthy meals will be much cheaper than grabbing fast food every night.
Meal prepping will also help you to stay on track with your healthy eating when you’re busy, because you’ll already be prepared with ready-made meals.
From Apples to Zucchinis
The premise for meal prep is simple. Start by setting aside one day a week for prepping, and decide how many meals you’d like to prepare.
For example, let’s say that every Sunday afternoon, you will prepare dinners to last Monday through Friday. To start, select a few healthy recipes beforehand to try out and be sure to have all your necessary ingredients on hand. From there, cook up enough food and chop enough fruits/veggies to last a week.
Rubbermaid offers a pretty good selection of cool containers that work great for separating your meals into convenient servings so they are good to go whenever you need them. Check out some other comparison brands for convenient storage ideas. You can even use something as simple as plastic baggies to store your veggies or snacks.
If you prefer an easier, healthy meal each day and you’re okay with something simple like chicken with a baked sweet potato or veggies, it can still taste anything but boring. You can cook up boneless, skinless chicken breasts beforehand, and then season them the day of. Monday could be a nice lemon pepper seasoning, Tuesday, drizzle your chicken in Buffalo sauce, make Wednesday’s chicken Cajun-style, and so on. You can also toss in a delicious and easy-to-make black bean, corn, and quinoa salad for an extra kick of flavor.
Git ’Er Done
Meal prepping is also great for multitasking. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while you cook, or get caught up on your favorite guilty-pleasure show. You can even start a load of laundry while you’re at it.
As an added perk, you’ll probably discover that you are actually cutting down on time spent in the kitchen. After preparing dinners for the week, you may find yourself throwing together the next day’s breakfast or lunch before cleaning up.
It’s a great way to get a lot done all at once.
3: Work Out a New Workout Program
Exercising is another way you can live a healthy lifestyle, and there are tons of great health benefits associated with regular exercise like weight loss and improved boosts in energy.
The great news is, there are so many interesting exercise options to choose from. So if you’re not a fan of running or lifting weights at the gym, don’t do it. Instead, pick something you really like.
Here’s a few fun options:
Dancing—Bollywood dancing, ballet, ballroom—the list goes on and on with dance options. You could even take a twerkout or Zumba dance class at a local gym, or play an hour of Just Dance on your Xbox Kinect or Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii.
Hiking—If you’re a nature lover, hiking totally counts as exercise. You could also go for long daily walks, try rock-climbing, or get into mountain biking.
Yoga—There are so many different kinds of yoga classes you could try. If you don’t mind the heat, go with hot yoga. If you’re an acrobat at heart, give acroyoga a try. There’s even a thing called goat yoga with baby goats and it looks delightful. Seriously, look it up.
The Sky’s the Limit—This is your chance to get really creative. Try hula-hooping, jump roping, unicycling, water aerobics, or even larping. (Stands for live action role-playing. Think of mock sword fighting in your favorite Zelda costume.)
The C’s—Try a home calisthenics program or CrossFit class at the gym. These kinds of workouts will really build your overall muscular strength and endurance. And okay, it doesn’t start with a “C,” but let’s add karate to the list for kicks.
DIY Workout—Invent your own mini workouts to do throughout the day. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Do calf raises when unloading the dishwasher. Get down and plank while waiting for your tea kettle to boil. Do tricep dips on your couch during TV commercials. Taking these little extra steps can definitely add up in a good way.
When All Is Said and Done
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, there isn’t a magical cure-all. But by taking little steps such as these every day, you really can improve your overall health, and by doing so, improve the quality of your life.
How do you live a healthy lifestyle? Comment below with your favorite examples.
It provides no nutritional value, yet it is the probably the most important substance that we consume.
Water! Without it, our other nutrients are useless.
It’s essential for transporting nutrients to cells and wastes from cells. Without it, cellular metabolism and proper chemical functioning do not exist.
We don’t talk about it enough. And you may have heard lot of “facts” about it that aren’t entirely true.
Have you heard that the body is 2/3, or around 70% water? An infant’s total body water (TBW) is typically as high as 74%. However, due mostly to loss of relative lean body mass, an adult female is closer to 47% water, and an adult male 56%.
Have you heard that other drinks, such as juices and coffee, do not count toward your daily water intake? That is not true either. On average, about 20-25% of water consumed is from food, and 75-80% is from all beverages.
What about the fact that caffeinated beverages don’t count, or that they can be dehydrating? That, again, is mostly inaccurate. Regular consumers of caffeinated beverages suffer no negative effects on hydration status by drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
How much fluid do you need to replace when sweating? How much fluid should I be getting based on my size and activity levels? For these answers and other important information on water, the following is a great resource.
Hydration: Fluids for Life
The North American branch of the International Life Sciences
Institute (ILSI N.A.)