Between the longer days and oh-so hectic work schedule, it’s no wonder people are so drained during the winter. Well its time to rev up your engines! There is a way you can boost your energy levels, without becoming a regular at the local Starbucks. All it takes is a little food to change your mood!
1. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Your morning meal can help kick up your metabolism and give you the boost of energy you need to start your day off right. Have a protein-enriched fresh fruit smoothie or an egg-white omelet with vegetables and whole grain toast. Or try a bowl of high fiber cereal topped with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of nuts. If you’re in a rush to get to work or run errands, an energy bar is another healthy choice.
2. Space meals three to four hours apart. Eating small meals and snacks on a three to four hour schedule will promote optimal energy levels as compared to eating the traditional three large meals per day. Spreading meals out on a regular basis will ensure a ready supply of energy. Eating only large meals will leave you feeling sluggish, not energized!
3. Don’t skip meals. Skipping breakfast or lunch can cause a mid-am or midday energy drop. Food is fuel! You need to eat frequently to have energy!
4. Include a mixture of carbohydrates, protein and fat into every meal. Consuming a carbohydrate rich meal without any protein will provide a quick boost of energy and subsequent crash. Carbohydrates (grains, fruits, veggies, bread, etc.) are digested by the body quickly and are a great source of quick energy. But to stay energized, include a little protein and fat to avoid the energy crash that typically follows after only eating carbs. Try lean meat sandwiches on whole grain bread with turkey and avocado. Or have a grilled chicken salad drizzled with olive oil and a whole wheat dinner roll for lunch.
5. Have an afternoon snack. Everyone needs a pick me up in the late afternoon, especially in the wintertime when the sun goes down at 4:00 pm. Instead of reaching for a coffee grab a power snack. Caffeine will only give you a quick boost which will later leave you to crash. Fuel up on some fruit and nuts, or even an energy bar with a little protein. Then you’ll be all revved up to head to the gym for spring training!
6. Splurge on your favorite summer fruits! Aren’t you sick of eating the same apples and bananas by now? Treat yourself to some fresh berries or melons that are typically in season in the summer. Replace the banana with a mixture of blueberries and raspberries and put them on your morning oatmeal. This will give you a little taste of the season ahead!
7. Lighten up. In the winter we typically go for heartier foods like chili and stews to warm us up. Remember the welcoming smell of a BBQ in the summer? Throw some fish on the grill (yes, you can grill outside in the winter) with a light marinade and serve with some fruit salsa. This makes a great light dinner.
8. Remember to drink water. No matter what time of the year it is, staying hydrated is key to maintaining optimal energy levels. Dehydration is a major contributor to fatigue. If the thought of cold water in the winter makes you shiver, have a cup of decaffeinated tea instead.
by Colleen Guiltinan | FOXNews.com