Put down that third coffee! Yes, we've all had days where we feel tired. However, it might be time to rethink what you've been eating and drinking. While everything we consume gives us some kind of energy, some energy sources are better than others.
Try these energy-packed foods that boast nutrients to keep you going all day long. Here's what to have the next time you're dragging to help prevent that afternoon slump.
A study found that women who were mildly dehydrated reported feeling fatigued. When you're dehydrated, body functions can be slowed, leaving you sluggish and tired. Drink plenty of water during the day and before, during and after you work out. Do so even if you're not tired. That will help ensure you're energized and fight off fatigue. If you're not a fan of plain water, squirt in some fresh lime or lemon. Or throw in mint leaves or cucumber slices.
A study in Appetite found that cottage cheese's filling effects are similar to those from eggs. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and low in calories, too. It's packed with nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium. It's a great no-cook way to get some energy. Looking for a low-fat snack? Try this Sweet Cottage Cheese recipe. Or whip up this Whole-Wheat Vegetable Lasagna. Veggie lovers will enjoy the fact that it has plenty of vitamins, protein and other nutrients thanks to its mixture of vegetables and cheeses.
Iron-rich spinach is great if you need an energy boost. When you don't have enough iron, you have less oxygen flowing to the brain. And that can leave you tired. Add spinach to your morning smoothie or omelet. Eat a spinach salad at lunch to help prevent an afternoon energy slump. Try Spinach-Stuffed Chicken for dinner; double it to serve at a dinner party. Make a side salad for a complete meal.
Avocados boast fiber (which helps maintain steady energy levels) and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They provide more energy than most produce because they're digested slower than simple carbs. And they can be stored in the body and used as an energy source. This nutritional powerhouse also offers protein and potassium. Avocados are versatile enough to be incorporated into any meal. Use them in your omelet, as a salad topper, sandwich filler or as the main ingredient in guacamole. Drink your avocados, too—they give smoothies a creamy consistency. Sip on this Cucumber Avocado Smoothie that will replenish needed nutrients at breakfast, lunch or post-workout snack. The healthy fats and protein in the avocado and yogurt will keep you feeling full for hours.
Sure, eating asparagus does make your pee smell. But get past that. This green vegetable is high in B vitamins. That turns your carbs into glucose, or fuel. Plus it contains filling fiber and is packed with minerals and vitamins like A, C, E and K, plus folate, iron, copper, protein, calcium and fiber. Start off your day with some asparagus courtesy of an Asparagus Omelet. Serve this omelet with a thin slice of ham or prosciutto and fresh fruit on the side for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Almonds boast fiber, protein and heart-healthy fats plus minerals and vitamins like copper, riboflavin and magnesium. Manganese and copper help keep energy flowing through the body. And riboflavin helps with energy production. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids to keep you satisfied and help your heart, too. This Harvest Rice Dish boasts energizing slivered almonds.
There's a reason athletes often eat a banana before a big game. One study showed that eating a banana before a 75-km cycling trial was as efficient as downing a carbohydrate drink for improving the performance of endurance athletes. Bananas offer carbs, vitamin B-6 and potassium, all which can help boost your energy levels. They're made mainly of sugars (fructose, glucose and sucrose) and fiber, making them an ideal energy source. Make a loaf of Banana Bread the next time you're looking to use up ripe bananas.
Get all-day energy by starting your day with eggs or snacking on a hard-boiled egg. Eggs' protein and healthy fats will help stabilize blood sugar levels. That helps prevent afternoon slumps. They're also rich in B vitamins, with enzymes that help break down food for energy. Eggs also have leucine, which is an amino acid that helps stimulate energy production. Eat this versatile and nutritional powerhouse any time of day to reap its energy benefits. Prepare these tasty Italian Baked Eggs for brunch. Your guests will never guess it's a healthy recipe. Or whip up this egg-white breakfast quesadilla, a flavorful and tasty way to start your day. Learn more about why you should eat eggs.
Hundreds of types of beans are out there, but they're all nutritious and rich sources of fiber, protein and carbohydrates. Since they're digested slowly, high-fiber beans help maintain stable blood-sugar levels and provide steady energy. Popular varieties include black beans and black-eyed peas, which are also good sources of iron, folic acid, manganese and magnesium. Kick things up a notch with this Herbed Rice and Spicy Black Bean Salad.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, carbs, beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C. They also offer manganese, which helps break down nutrients to produce energy. Your body digests the potatoes' fiber and complex carbs slowly, giving you a steady energy supply. Sweet Potato Hummus is a light, healthy snack is bursting with flavor, spice and color. Because of its high protein content, the recipe will help control your appetite and mood. Pair it with Herb-Infused Ranch-Style Sweet Potato Chips for the perfect blend of protein and carbs.