Fuel Your Body for Energy – Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

I hope you have been enjoying our series on nutrition! Today, our registered dietitian, and guest blogger, Laura Dudley helps us find the energy to accomplish our daily tasks, and feel good doing them!

NNM_Logo_2015_hires_lg_r1A fun-filled healthy life requires the energy to enjoy it all! What you eat can increase or decrease energy levels. Here are a few strategies to increase your daily energy funds:

Eat breakfast. Expecting your body to shift into full gear without stopping to refuel is like assuming your car will run on empty. Breakfast restocks nutrients that are running low and stimulates metabolism. When you skip breakfast, you set yourself up to overeat later in the day. Fueling your body in the morning rather than the evening makes sense, since your body uses much more energy during waking hours. Be sure to include a fruit, whole grain, and protein.

Eat regular meals. To help maintain a steady blood sugar and energy level, eat regular meals. Irregular eating habits can cause wide fluctuations in blood-sugar and insulin levels, which affect your energy level and hunger cues

Limit sugar. Do you grab a doughnut or soda when you feel tired? It’s a common mistake to reach for a sugary food or drink when your energy dips. Sugar leads to a temporary high and then sends you on a blood-sugar roller coaster. Sugar dumps rapidly into the bloodstream, causing a sharp rise in blood sugar. To counteract this rise, the body quickly releases insulin, which carries excess sugar from the blood into the cells. As a result, blood sugar drops, often to levels lower than before the snack, but insulin levels remain high, leaving you hungry and tired.

Rather than a sugary snack, choose nutrient-packed, time-released carbs, such as whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, or low-fat granola. Combine it with a small serving of protein, such as low-fat cheese, nuts, Greek style yogurt, or cottage cheese to optimize energy.

Get the right amount of protein. Protein serves a couple of important purposes at each meal. First, it slows digestion, leading to a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Also, protein is important for tissue repair and muscle mass—which in turn keeps your metabolism revved up. But studies show that protein in smaller amounts (about a 3-4 ounce serving of meat or 20-30 grams of protein) is all the body can use at a given time, so anything beyond that is either used for energy or converted to fat and stored.

Eat Smaller Portions. To avoid the sluggish feelings after overeating, learn to eat just the right amount. When you overeat, your body is working overtime to digest the meal.

What’s your favorite healthy breakfast or snack to propel you through the day? Share with us!

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. Adelaide

     /  May 28, 2015

    Fresh fruits and vegetables, that is the healthy way to greet the morning full of vitality. I feel invigorated whenever I pick up a fruit during snack time.

    Reply
  2. Laura

     /  March 25, 2015

    A veggie scramble with spinach, tomatoes, egg whites and italian seasoning, with fresh fruit on the side and a whole grain. Fuels me for several hours!

    Reply
  3. Fruits! 🙂 keeps me off the chocolates

    Reply
  4. Oatmeal or nuts help me a lot. They fill me up and lift up my energy. That and drinking lots of water!

    Reply

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