Your body and mind make up a finely tuned machine. How you fill your tank makes a measurable difference in your energy, mood, and productivity.
“It’s not about finding the perfect nutritional balance or following the latest fad diet,” states MOBE Guide Tara. “Healthy eating requires a few keystone habits to make it easy, intuitive, and delicious. Once those core habits are in place, the process of fueling your body with nutritious food becomes self-reinforcing.”
Before you go through another day following the same old working-and-eating patterns, think about this: with a little planning, you can forget about the mid-morning hunger crisis, the post-lunch slump, and even the early-evening burnout.
These are the times in each day where nutrition experts recommend thoughtful choices to keep your energy revved.
If you crave a coffee and donut breakfast on the go, think again. Sugar and caffeine offer a temporary boost but when your blood sugar drops soon after, it will leave you foggy and hungry. If you rush out the door without breakfast, consider that you’re already fasting during sleep. Skipping breakfast means your body and brain are running on empty.
The effect of a good breakfast is measurable. Multiple nutritional studies show that adults who eat a high-quality breakfast demonstrate better brain function in terms of memory.1 Start your day with a balance of protein and high-quality carbohydrates.
Use snack time to pack in some more nutrition. It’s one more way to feed your brain with protein, antioxidants, and other micronutrients. Plus, smaller micro-meals throughout your day help keep your blood sugar levels even and your energy levels high.
Again, experts recommend a balance of protein, high-quality carbs, and small amounts of fat.
You know the sluggish feeling after a double cheeseburger with fries and a shake? All that digestion saps your energy so there’s not much left for your brain and muscles.
But grabbing a nutrition bar or a bag of crackers isn't going to cut it either. When it comes to lunch, the key is just enough nutrition but not too much bulk.
An energy slump is sometimes a sign that you’re not getting enough water. By the time you feel thirsty, it may be too late for that glass of water to prevent dehydration. Instead, keep sipping low-cal/no-sugar fluids all day long.2
Fruit and veggies do more than just deliver a ton of micronutrients that help you prevent disease and prolong your life. Research shows that their many nutritional benefits can also help with higher levels of curiosity, creativity, and feelings of well-being.3
Fruit and veggies count toward your overall fluid intake, too.
If you do drink alcohol, be careful with happy hour or a drink-with-dinner routine. You might have better luck keeping your energy up by cutting back or even eliminating your evening alcohol intake.4
And stay within the limits of moderation: no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
There are thousands of variations on this daily maintenance schedule. Start experimenting and see what keeps your tank full and your motor running.
Work on your nutrition goals with one-to-one support from a MOBE Guide. Get started today.
1. Rachel Galioto and Mary Beth Spitznagel, “The Effects of Breakfast and Breakfast Composition on Cognition in Adults,” Advances in Nutrition 7, no. 3 (May 2016): 576S-89S, https://doi.org/10.3945/an.115.010231.
2. “9 Tips to Boost Your Energy—Naturally,” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, https://www.health.harvard.edu/energy-and-fatigue/9-tips-to-boost-your-energy-naturally.
3. Tamlin S. Conner et al., “On Carrots and Curiosity: Eating Fruits and Vegetables is Associated with Greater Flourishing in Daily Life,” British Journal of Health Psychology 20, no. 2 (July 2014): 413-427, https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12113.
4. “Eating to Boost Energy,” Tara Gidus, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/eating-to-boost-energy#:~:text=A%20balanced%20meal%20includes%20foods,healthy%20fat%2C%20for%20sustained%20energy.