Feeling sluggish? Follow these tips from Lanette Kovachi, MS, RDN, corporate dietitian for Subway®, and eat your way to more energy.
1. Pair protein with complex carbs. Make this your mantra as often as you can. Complex carbs with lots of fiber, such as whole grain cereals and breads, provide instant energy while protein helps you feel satisfied longer. A Subway Fresh Fit® sub on 9-Grain wheat bread with Turkey Breast and all the veggies (pictured above) is an energizing meal option.
2. Get a boost at breakfast. Don’t skip it, says Kovachi. You’ve put nothing in your stomach for eight hours, so you’ll need fuel to rev up your brain and body and set your blood sugar levels on the right track. For a satisfying, nutrient-packed breakfast, try poached eggs and whole-grain toast with almond butter, or cereal (hot or cold) with milk and fruit.
3. Take a coffee break — literally. Studies have found that an 8-ounce cup of regular Joe provides just enough energy to jolt you out of an energy slump and help you concentrate and focus. Just beware of those fancy, dessert-like coffee drinks: They may provide energy, but they are packed with calories.
Don’t like coffee? Go for a tea break instead, as it's the caffeine providing the energy magic.
4. Keep lunch low-fat. Getting stuffed at your midday meal will leave you drained — not energized. Eat enough to feel satisfied but not so much that you need to loosen your belt, advises Kovachi. A Subway Fresh Fit Black Forest Ham sub should do the trick. Subway Fresh Fit subs refer to 6” subs on 9-Grain wheat bread with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers.
5. Iron out your options. Iron is necessary to deliver oxygen to cells, but it isn’t produced in the body. You have to get it from your diet by eating foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, and certain vegetables, including leafy greens, tofu, broccoli, peas, Brussels sprouts, and kale. To boost iron absorption, eat foods high in vitamin C along with those rich in iron.
6. Settle for the B-list. When it comes to energy, B vitamins play an important role in transforming the food you eat into fuel for the body. Foods high in B-complex vitamins include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy, as well as fortified cereals and soy and rice milk.
7. Snack with smarts. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, says Kovachi. Trail mix is another near-perfect between-meal snack, she says. Make your own by combining your favorite nuts (toast them for added flavor), seeds, and unsweetened dried fruit.
8. Drink up. If you don’t stay hydrated throughout the day, you’ll feel mentally and physically fatigued, says Kovachi. Aim for eight to 12 cups of fluid each day from water, milk, or unsweetened fruit juice.
Keep a reusable water bottle nearby to refill throughout the day — it's a helpful way to make sure you're getting enough H2O.
Reach for sweet beverages only as an occasional treat. The added sugar gives you only a quick energy lift.
Top Image Credit: Subway®