If you go about your day feeling sluggish, tired, and groggy and don’t know why, maybe your diet is to blame.
Food is fuel, and only the right kinds of food will give us the fuel or energy we need to get through each day with an extra skip in our steps.
Beware These Energy Sappers
Life may not feel quite as challenging when you have the stamina to meet life head on. There are some definite energy-boosting foods, but then there are energy-sapping foods that leave you feeling drained or weighed down. Here’s my list:
- Sugary Foods – Okay, this one is a given. Sugar is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and digestive tract, giving you a sudden burst of energy, but that energy is short-lived and when you come off that sugar high, it’s like a nosedive in the energy department. Avoid sugar if you don’t want to come crashing down later.
- Heavy Meals – Another given. When you load up on food at mealtime, you may satisfy your hunger and then some, but afterwards as the food begins to digest, you’ll feel overstuffed and sleepy. Take into consideration why after big Thanksgiving dinners, everyone wants to curl up and go to sleep. The barrage of food is working on you, draining away your energy.
- White, Processed Foods – Foods like white, enriched flour, rice and bread have very high glycemic indices, meaning that sugars quickly rush through the blood and energy is used up faster. You will not only get tired quicker, but you’ll also crave more of the same foods. These foods are just empty calories that leave your energy stores empty as well.
- Pretzels – These may seem like a nice and simple snack, because at least it’s lower in calories and fat than your average bag of potato chips. However, pretzels have no energy-sustaining power – no fiber or protein – to help keep you up and running. They will raise your blood sugar levels quite a bit and leave you feeling drained.
- Salads With Too Much Fluff – Eating salads is good for you, but it’s what you put on them that can make or break you. Load on the veggies; add a touch of lean meat, maybe a little cheese and a light salad dressing like a vinaigrette or olive oil. Hold off on the croutons, bacon bits and creamy salad dressing, all of which are fluff with no substance and can spike blood sugar levels and add unnecessary calories.
- Skipping Breakfast – Breakfast gets your metabolism flowing again after a long night’s sleep, so it’s important not to skip it even if you’re in a rush. A boiled egg and a piece of fruit, for example, is a small, quick fix that will provide protein and a little natural sugar boost which balance each other out so your blood sugar isn’t spiked. So there’s no excuse why you can’t have breakfast, even in small portions like this. Oatmeal with a sliced fruit topping is another great option with plenty of fiber that will carry you through until lunchtime. Skipping breakfast makes you tired and very hungry.
Give Yourself a Boost
If you want an energy boost during your day instead, reach for foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, fatty fish, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and lots of water. Exercise and plenty of rest is also very important.