By: Laura Ali, MS, RD, LDN
It’s been a long, dreary winter that zapped energy out of even the best of us! If you are looking for ways to put a spring back in your step here are 8 tips that will help!
Shut Eye – Getting adequate sleep is probably the most important thing you can do give yourself a jump start. Experts tell us 7 – 8 hours of shut eye a night is right for most of us and trying to play catch up on the weekends just doesn’t cut it. Aim to get to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every day to keep your body in sync.
Focus on Breakfast – You’ve heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast gives your metabolism a kick! After a good night’s sleep your body is looking for an energy source. Choose a light mix of lean protein, whole grain carbs and a little fat to get the juices flowing again. Avocado Toast is a popular trend right now – top it with our jalapeno tuna for a zesty kick and to get some good quality protein in!
Small Frequent Meals – Skip the really heavy meals and try eating smaller meals a little more often. Refueling your body every few hours can help provide a constant supply of energy and give you a little boost. Big, heavy meals can weigh you down so limit those and try eating lighter foods, more often.
Brighten your Plate – What you eat can have a tremendous effect on your mood. Delicious fruits and vegetables are coming back in season and they are a great way to get out of your eating rut. Plus, they are full of nutrients that provide your body with natural energy and a good source of fiber that will help fill you up. Just looking at a colorful plate can boost your mood!
Sunshine –Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine Vitamin may play a role in energy levels. Research has shown that lower levels of Vitamin D could also be associated with feelings of fatigue. So take a break and get outside for 10 – 15 minutes and look to add a few food sources of Vitamin D like seafood and dairy products to keep your Vitamin D levels up.
Exercise – Regular exercise has been shown to increase endorphin levels (the feel good hormones) as well as improve sleep patterns. Health professionals recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week. Go for a brisk walk at lunch or at night with your significant other or join a yoga class a night or two a week and get your body moving again! Make sure you talk with your physician before starting any exercise program!
Protein – Lean protein supports muscle strength and helps build and repair body tissue. Eating protein foods spaced throughout the day also helps keep your blood sugar stable. Protein takes longer to break down and digest than carbohydrates so you will have a more consistent level of energy throughout the day. Lean protein like salmon and tuna, chicken as well as Greek yogurt, eggs, nuts and soy products are perfect choices for meals and snacks.
Water – If you are feeling wiped out, you might just be a bit dehydrated. Do you really need 8 cups a day? It depends on a number of things, including how active you are but 8 cups is a good place to start and is a goal that is easy to remember. If you are extremely active or spend a lot of time in the heat you may need more. If you don’t like plain water, add lemon or frozen berries to it to give it a little burst of flavor!