Whether you’re in the office trying not to let your head fall and smash into your desk because you are so tired, or at home with the children, feeling exhausted just thinking about what to make for dinner, collecting the older children from school and running them around to their clubs and then helping with their school homework; You can jump start your energy levels with a little bit of the right food.
The best quick energy foods are a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates. By stocking up your cupboards with a good selection of these go to options, you are giving your body a kick start when your energy levels start to dissolve. Not only will these give you the energy boost you need but they are also really, really quick to prepare, which is what you need when you are feeling tired.
Cheese & Crackers – When you think you are about to crash and burn and are considering grabbing a bar of chocolate don’t. As this sugar shock will only leave you feeling boosted for an hour or so. Instead have some wholegrain crackers and full fat cheese, this will pump up your energy levels and keep you going as they contain lots of protein and complex carbohydrates.
Peanut Butter – Peanut butter on wholegrain bread is another easy carb and protein snack. This combination will digest slower than simple carbs and will keep your blood glucose sustained so your energy levels can keep up.
Water “Yes Really” – Keep a water bottle or two close by to avoid getting tired. If you are not keen on the taste of plain water you can get some other healthy tips on how to stay hydrated here. Studies have found that even mild dehydration slows down your metabolism and sucks all your energy up.
Fresh Fruit – Loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre, fruit is perfect for the times you need a little energy boost. Bananas, oranges and apples are easy to pack in your bag for work as they don’t need refrigeration and are packed full of vitamins, minerals and good carbs, as well as natural sugar to give you a quick energy boost. Top tip; citrus fruits kick in with their energy boost after 20 minutes of eating them.
Nuts – Almonds and walnuts make for a great snack because they are packed full of good fats, fibre, nutrients like selenium, vitamin E and omega-3s, which will not only keep you fuller for longer but will also replenish your energy levels. Because nuts are so easy to nibble on, it can really easy to eat too many of them in one sitting, the recommended size portion is around 1oz of nuts per a portion.
Quinoa – This supper grain not only provides the body with a much needed energy boost, it has also lots of health benefits for the heart and is also packed full of powerful anti-oxidant properties. This is why it is one of the most nutrient rich grains you can eat. Not sure where to even start with quinoa? Click here for some quick and healthy quinoa recipes.
Raw Honey – Spread some honey onto wholegrain toast to create a great energy booster. Because although it’s sugar honey is a lot more complex than that of processed sugar you find in sweets or jam. As raw honey contains 80% natural sugar, 18% water and 2% minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein, which provides an easy absorbed supply of energy in the form glycogen, making raw honey ideal for a quick energy boost.
Vegetables – That old saying that our parents and grandparents having been saying for years ‘Veggies are where it’s at’ As vegetables are rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates, so the body digests them slower leaving you feeling full for longer. Chop up some carrots and celery into bite size sticks to dip into your favourite homemade hummus dip.
Trail Mix – If you don’t want to just eat a handful of nuts, make yourself a healthy mix of your favorite nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins and even a small grating of dark chocolate if you want and you have an effective energy boost for your afternoon tiredness.
Fruit Juice – Juice of fruits and vegetables are pure gifts from nature as they are the most natural way to not only heal your body but also increase your natural energy levels. Fruit juice sold in shops often have added sugar in them, so dilute them half and half with water ( ½ cup of water – ½ cup of juice) unless it states 100% juice or you have juiced the fruit yourself.
Make Your Own 3-Ingredient Energy Bars
Image taken from The Kitchn
Recipe By The kitchn
Makes 8 large bars or 16 small square-shaped bars
- 1 cup nuts
- 1 cup dried fruit
- 1 cup (12-15 whole) pitted dried dates
- Food processor
- Plastic wrap or wax paper
- Sharp knife
Roast the nuts (optional). Nuts can be used raw or roasted; roasting will add a toasty, nutty depth to the bars. If desired, roast the nuts at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Allow to cool before using.
Combine the nuts, dried fruit, and dates in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to break them up. Separate the dates if they start to clump together.
Process continuously for 30 seconds. By this point, the ingredients should all have broken down into crumb-sized pieces. Scrape the edges of the bowl and beneath the blade to make sure nothing is sticking.
Process continuously until a ball is formed, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue processing for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the ingredients clump together and gather into a ball.
Press into a thick square and chill. Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and dump the dough on top. Press the dough with your hands until it forms a thick square, roughly 8″x8″ in size. Wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Divide into bars. Unwrap the chilled dough and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 large bars or 16 small squares, as desired. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or wax paper.
Store the bars. Store the bars in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The bars can be eaten straight from the fridge or freezer and will be firm, but chewy. Room-temperature bars are perfectly fine to eat and can be kept in a lunch bag or backpack all day, but will be more soft and paste-like.
Energy balls: The dough can also be shaped into small balls. Refrigerate until firm, then wrap in plastic for longer storage.
Try these combinations! Cherry-almond, apricot-almond, cranberry-pecan, apple-cinnamon-walnut
Try these add-ins! Shredded coconut, chia seeds, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, crystalized ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom, lemon zest, lime zest
Tell me what you think about these energy boosting foods in the comments below.
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