It’s pretty likely you’ve tried a diet, meal plan, or some kind of calorie counter to monitor your food intake and lose weight. There are thousands of cookbooks, fad-dieting books, and shelves of books all about weight loss in your bookstore. In fact, 84% of Americans have tried a weight loss diet.
The problem with some of these diets is that they are designed to cut calories and limit the amount of food you eat (portion control is a huge part of a healthy diet!). However, they don’t focus on the real meaning of food: to give your body energy.
Americans are so tuned in to eating organic, gluten-free, and low-fat foods that we have lost sight of what is really important! Eating for energy and to thrive each day is the real purpose of food. And there are a lot of healthy ways to get the energy-boosting food your body craves!
Stock up on Superfoods
Supplement pills can’t give you the energy you need like real food can. Foods with B-complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids are energy packed which also means they are metabolism-boosting foods. These foods will help you stay full and energized while also giving your metabolism a boost! Here are a few superfoods to get you started:
- Melons: Melons, like cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon, are bursting with flavor, nutrients, and vitamins. Being 90% water also means these super fruits will keep you hydrated and fueled all day!
- Green Tea: A healthier alternative to coffee, green tea helps stave off the flu and the common cold, as well as delivers a daily dose of amino acid and L-theanine that will keep you alert and awake.
- Crab (shellfish): This superlean protein a seasonal specialty, so get it while you can! A single serving is ⅓ of your daily dose of B-12 while only being 71 calories. Crab can boost your red blood cells so it’s easier to think clearly and stay energized.
- Brown Rice: Complex-carbohydrates help you feel full and help you stay energized for the whole day. Brown rice is also a great source of magnesium – diets that are low in magnesium can result in low energy and hinder your workouts. 1 cup of brown rice is ¼ the amount of daily magnesium you should have in your diet.
Energy comes from eating real foods – not taking supplements or drinking meal replacement shakes. Shakes can be a good on-the-go meal, but try to sit down and eat real meals, so your body recognizes it’s mealtime. That will help with digestion and make you feel full quicker.
Energizing Meal Plans
Eating too much in one sitting or too many of the wrong foods can slow you down. Everyone is familiar with the “food coma” that comes from eating a big lunch – the afternoon is not as productive and you feel sleepy. Avoid getting dragged down by the afternoon by eating lighter meals throughout the day and having healthy snacks.
It’s easy to eat healthy, lighter meals even if you go out for lunch. Just follow a few simple tips for getting the right amount of energy-boosting foods into your diet!
In the morning when you wake up, drink a glass of water. This will get your metabolism started for the day. Adding some lemon in your water is a quick and healthy way to add flavor without unnecessary calories or carbs.
The more hydrated you stay throughout the day, the more awake you will feel!
Eat a protein-packed breakfast like eggs or Greek yogurt. Avocados are also a great option for incorporating healthy fats to your breakfast. Check out these high-protein breakfast recipes to start your day.
If you can’t make it to lunchtime, have a small snack of protein-packed foods. The goal is to have lots of protein, but to keep your snack portions controlled. Eat Greek yogurt, almonds (or any kind of nut for protein and healthy fats), or some raisins to hold you over until your next meal.
Fit Tip: Drinking a glass of water can help curb your hunger and make you feel full, so instead of grabbing a snack, keep hydrated with water!
Avoid eating heavy foods that are packed with carbohydrates for lunch. This will result in feeling drowsy and unproductive during the afternoon. Carbs make you feel full, but give you a sugar crash. To avoid the crash, have protein with a salad or a piece of fruit. Stay energized with a salad of leafy greens and drinking plenty of water with your lunch.
Finally… you can load up on carbs! Dinner can be the largest meal of your day. Along with eating more protein, add in starchy carbs like pasta, potatoes, or rice and include a veggie. Leafy greens are a great source of iron, which will also keep you awake!
If you get the late-night munchies, and you’re craving dessert, don’t reach for something sweet! Have a spoonful of peanut butter or banana. That will satisfy your sweet tooth while also being healthy and nutritious.
This is a pretty loose template for a well-balanced meal plan that will help you feel energized and awake all day without making you feel overly full or bloated. Eating light during the day and having your larger meal at night will help with your workouts and keep your brain clear and focused all day!
Not only will these foods help you stay awake during the day, but you will sleep better at night if your body has the right nutrients and is well-hydrated. A good night’s sleep always makes you feel better in the morning!
If you eat to be energized, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll look better too! How’s that for a win!?