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Need An Energy Boost?

Need An Energy Boost?

by Carys Brunner |  17 Jul 2017

Are you having one of those days where everything is such an effort?  You can’t sit down as you know you would fall asleep, your concentration power is pretty rubbish, and as for brain power, well let’s just skip that.  I don’t know about you, but my kids are great at sensing those days, or maybe I give off an “I’m tired” smell.  Anyway, I was having one of those days yesterday during half term.  We had headed into town for a spot of musical chairs at lunch, then shoe swapping in the shoe shops (which consists of taking your shoes of, putting on an new pair and hiding the old pair), musical bumps in the street (basically you sit down in the most crowded walking area for no reason other than you fancy it) and last but not least, tag (you run off as far as you can from the responsible adult, in the opposite direction, or just where they have said not to go, whilst they are trying to pay as then they can’t get you!!).  Needless to say, by the end of the day I was exhausted and in need of a much needed boost.  Now I don’t drink tea of coffee as I hate the taste so I needed something else to pick me up.  It got me thinking that some of you might like a few tips in that area too.

Spirulina - an amazing veggie protein source with it being 60-70% protein and is packed with vitamin B, so an excellent energy boost to add to your salad at lunch for that afternoon pick me up

Cacao - this is the nut form of what we make chocolate from.  It is a magnificent food, with some amazing benefits, one being energy boosting.  It contains theobromine, a close relative to caffeine, but benefits from having less of a drop off after effect

Iron rich foods - if your iron levels are a little low, this will add to your fatigue so make sure you include iron rich veggies such as watercress and curly kale, dark choc, fish, brown rice, pulses and white and red meat

High vitamin B foods - vitamin B is vital for energy production, so adding vit B rich foods such as quinoa, eggs soya, whole grain, almonds, mushrooms , broccoli and fish, will give you the levels of vit B that are required to assist in energy production.

Drink plenty - one of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue, so make sure you are aiming to drink 30-40ml per kg of body weight to keep properly hydrated.

Eat little and often - if you are a 3 meals a day lady, with no snacking in between, you may find having smaller, but more frequent meals will help host your energy levels.  It will keep your blood sugar levels more controlled and therefore offer you the much needed energy supply.

Low GI foods - hopefully you will have all heard about GI (glycaemic index), but if not, it is simply a way of measuring the effect food has on the blood sugar levels.  High GI foods give you a short sharp blast but then leave you lagging in energy quickly.  However low GI foods such as whole grains, lean protein, good fats and veggies will give you a longer slower release of energy, keeping you firing on all cylinders for longer

Eat a high protein and good fat breakfast - research has shown this gives you energy for longer, helping to squash those drops in energy and reaching for the snack drawer

Avoid the sugary snacks - yes, they will give you an energy boost, but soon they will leave you feeling more exhausted than when you started.

See what simple changes you can make to what you eat and what effect it has on your energy levels
Sneak More Protein Into Your Meals

If you having been following my quest to clean up my food, then you'll know that I have been seriously surprised by my protein levels.  I like to think I eat a fairly high protein diet, but no, that was not the case - a mere 15-20%, which considering I am aiming for 30% is quite far off the mark.  So I have been working out ways to make some simple changes to boost protein levels without overhauling my whole routine!!

So why is protein so good for you?

  • It gives us all the essential amino acids we need for optimal health
  • It aids recovery
  • It gives us longer lasting energy
  • It suppresses our hunger hormones
  • It makes us feel like we have eaten well - increased satiety levels
  • It is the building blocks to lean muscle

So let’s see what simple changes you can make to boost your protein levels -

Breakfast

  • Swap your cereal for porridge, or if you are not a porridge fan, grab some oats, fruit and low fat greek yoghurt and mix together. 
  • Make your own granola out of nuts and seeds - almonds and chases have the highest protein levels
  • Add chia seeds and/or hemp powder to the dishes above to give you a tasty start to the day
  • Make a yummy omelette packed with eggs and spinach
  • Cottage cheese pancakes anyone - packed full of protein, you are sure to be filled up for the morning

Snacks

  • Rather than reaching for fruit or some carb based snack, you can swop for the following:
  • Rather than reaching for a biscuit, pick up a nut based bar that has a good protein content - All Natural with the added protein are scrummy
  • Swap your mid morning coffee for a protein shake, or you can buy some ready made ones now in the shops - I love Upbeat
  • Swap your bread sticks for crudités.  Try dipping some turkey and/or chicken, with some veggies into hummus, as both the meat and hummus are a great protein source

Lunch

  • Mix some seeds into your salad and/or a hard boiled egg
  • If you opting for a sandwich, try and stick with chicken, turkey or prawns, and add hummus instead of mayonnaise
  • Finish off with a small handful of nuts
  • Soup wise, pick something with plenty of beans in, or add some to your homemade versions

Supper

  • Obviously there are the lean meat versions - turkey and chicken, or a low fat beef, but you can also add protein with some simple additions
  • Peas are bursting with protein, so a cupful of peas will soon raise those protein levels
  • Add beans and/or lentils to your slow cooker meals or stews
  • Swop your potatoes for brown rice or quinoa
  • Don't forget that fish is another great protein source

Pudding

  • Greek yoghurt is an obvious choice, but you can also sneak in some more protein -
  • Sounds mad but there are some great black bean recipes out there, my favourite being brownies
  • Try ground almond as a flour substitute
  • You can get protein packed ice-cream called whey-hey, with no sugar.  Available with Ocado

If you are looking for protein packed recipes, check out our pinterest page, and see if you can up your protein levels and feel the benefits

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