While coffee does offer some health benefits, such as helping keep your brain healthy and increasing your metabolism, most reach for it because of the pick-me-up effects. And, even when you are regularly reaching for a cup of Joe, you might still be feeling drained and tired despite the caffeine boost.
Ashley Koff, RD, a registered dietician in Washington, DC, and the author of Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged thinks that our over-reliance on caffeine is more closely related to our overall poor nutrition.
Koff stated, “It’s absolutely possible to get a boost of energy from caffeine, but the problem is that you’ll fall off that ‘high.’” You will have more balanced energy when your diet is filled with the proper nutrients at each meal of the day.
Koff explained further, “Your morning energy actually begins the night before.” The right foods can help you sleep better and feel more rested. The choices that you make during the day will either lead to or stave off a mid-afternoon crash.
When you eat sugary, carb heavy meals, you will get quick bursts of energy, followed by periods of feeling very sluggish. Koff cautions people who think that avoiding all carbs is the answer, because even when you stick to a healthy, “clean” diet like a kale salad with wild salmon, without adding a healthy carb you are putting yourself at risk for having low energy and crashing later.
For the best energy balance throughout the day, try some of these great food combos. They will give you the energy without adding any extra caffeine.
1. Oatmeal, cinnamon and hemp seeds
Oats offer you a healthy carb choice, because they are slow to digest and release their nutrients. You will get a healthy dose of protein and healthy fat from the hemp seeds, and cinnamon not only adds a delicious flavour, but it has been shown to help balance blood sugar which can help control cravings.
2. Whole wheat tortilla, nut butter and ginger
A whole wheat tortilla is a great healthy carb that gives you the energy your body needs. Nut butter offers great protein and healthy fat. Adding ginger, which is a heating spice, offers a natural stimulant for more energy, and it is also good for your digestion.
3. Banana, nut butter and cacao bits
This is like having a healthy banana split, according to Koff. Bananas are great carbohydrates and also have a nice amount of potassium, which is not only good for balancing your hydration, but also gives you an energy boost. Nut butter adds protein, and the cacao adds an amazing flavour that will make you think you are getting a sweet and guilty chocolate treat.
4. Hummus, broccoli leaf and nuts
Make a tasty wrap on a hearty lettuce choice, like broccoli leaf or kale. Add in all the veggies that you’d like. The hummus adds protein and healthy carbs, and you will get your healthy fats from the nuts.
5. Eggs, spinach, avocado and berries
Eggs are filled with lean protein, and adding the healthy carbs from the berries and spinach gives great energy. Half of an avocado gives you healthy fats which keep you feeling satisfied longer.
Next time you feel sluggish, instead of reaching for the cup of java, think about adding some of these great food combos for some extra energy!