Bridge to Wellness

Ways to boost energy levels during long winter days

by Sophia Speroff, MPH, RD
One part of the day that always seems to slow us down — the 3 p.m. slump — happens to the best of us. Instead of reaching for an energy drink or an extra cup of coffee, try eating nutrient-rich, energizing foods or taking a brisk walk.
Foods that are high energy are typically rich in complex carbs and high in protein and other vitamins. No matter what the day brings, these foods can give you awesome, all-day energy and leave you feeling extra motivated to take on the rest of your day.

Bounds of energy breakfast

Research has found breakfast to be the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast is a terrific way to kick-start your metabolism and get your first dose of protein to keep you moving throughout the day.

• Greek yogurt — Add some fresh fruit, honey, or almonds for a sweet breakfast that is sure to keep you full and energized for hours to come. Greek yogurt is a major source of calcium and can have up to 20 grams of proteins.
• Eggs — With so many ways to eat them (scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, over-easy) and the proteins and healthy fats they are packed with, it is no wonder eggs have been a breakfast classic for years.

Lively lunch sides

• Quinoa — It is gluten-free, a complete source of protein, and one of the few plant foods that supplies eight essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. Pair this with a lean protein and some veggies for an energizing meal.
• Hummus — This chickpea-packed snack is the perfect side to your lunch. Pair it with veggies or some whole-wheat crackers to snack on throughout the day.

Delightful dinner options

• Salmon — This flaky fish has tons of healthy fats and will boost your energy levels thanks to its vitamin B and D quantities, which also help to combat fatigue.
• Spinach — Spinach is known for having high vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, iron and calcium. All these nutrients help keep you alert and on your toes for the day. Throw in some added veggies to this leafy green for a powerhouse salad.

Supercharged snacks

• Almonds — Almonds have heart-healthy fats and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. These are the perfect protein-rich, on-the-go choice. Keep them in a container and they are perfect to tuck in purses or in your office desk for whenever you need a pick-me-up.
• Apples — The phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” really was not messing around. Due to the natural fiber, sugar content, and nutrient-dense skin of apples, they offer a wonderful pick-me-up during a midday slump. Apples also supply slow and sustained energy, so make sure to get your daily
apple dose in.

Whether you are on the go or planning your meals for the week, you can easily fit in some energizing foods to keep you fueled, focused, and full for the day. If you are feeling drowsy and lethargic, it also may be a sign of dehydration. Pair your meals and snacks with water to help with digestion, and make
sure your body is running top-notch.

This column is sponsored by the Stockbridge Area Wellness Coalition. Sophia Speroff is a Registered Dietitian (RD) of 10 years with her master’s in public health, currently working at St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Chelsea as a community RD. She has an athletic and competitive side, staying active training for triathlons and half marathons. In her free time, Sophia likes to hike, folk dance and garden.

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