5 eating habits to maintain energy throughout the day
It’s normal for energy levels to fluctuate throughout the day. However, if you find yourself swooping between energy highs and crushing lows, your diet may hold some of the answers. We’ve therefore put together five eating habits that could help you maintain your energy throughout the day.
- Eat starchy carbohydrates
A diet rich in starchy carbohydrates such as wholegrain pasta and bread, oats, pulses, nuts, and seeds will help you maintain your energy throughout the day. This is because it takes longer for your body to break them down, meaning glucose is released into your blood gradually, providing a steady supply of energy. As these are also high in fibre, they’re also great for the health of your gut and will keep you fuller for longer.
- Cut down on these energy-zapping foods
While certain foods help you maintain energy throughout the day, others, such as refined carbohydrates, have the opposite effect. The worst culprits for this are sugary, processed foods like cakes, cookies, and candy, which release sugar quickly into your blood giving you a temporary energy high, followed by a crash. Energy drinks and bars can also have the same effect, so don’t be fooled by the marketing and opt for water or an apple instead.
- Eat little and often
Many of us have experienced that afternoon energy slump. This is usually because we overeat at lunchtime, so energy is diverted to our digestive system causing us to feel drowsy and lethargic. If your meal was also full of sugars and processed carbs, you’ll likely feel even more tired as your body deals with an increase in serotonin and melatonin – the chemicals that make you feel sleepy.
Eating smaller meals more regularly will therefore help your body release energy gradually. Aim to eat three meals a day with healthy snacks such as fruit or nuts in between. This will help stop you from getting so hungry that you overeat at mealtimes or reach for sugary snacks that give you a short-lived energy high. When you’re eating, pay attention to how full you are and aim to feel comfortably, but not painfully, full.
- Stay hydrated
Water plays a key role in our overall health. It’s the main component of blood and is essential for taking nutrients to cells and getting rid of waste products. Fatigue is one of the first signs that you’re lacking fluid, so aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses a day. If you’re not a fan of water, lower-fat milk and sugar-free drinks are also good options. Try to avoid sugary sodas and energy drinks as they’ll lead to an energy crash. Cutting down on alcohol is also a good idea as it can dehydrate you and disrupt your sleep cycle.
- Eat a varied diet
Eating a varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables will ensure you get the vitamins, minerals, and fibre your body needs to work properly and keep you feeling energized. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, which can be fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. A common deficiency which can cause fatigue, especially in women, is iron deficiency. So, make sure you’re eating foods rich in iron such as red meat, beans, nuts, and dried fruit.
What we put into our body has a huge effect on what we get out of it, so if you’re looking to maintain your energy levels throughout the day, making these small changes to your eating habits might help.