You work twelve hour days, you have small children, and you’re accustomed to drinking around four cups of coffee daily. While the caffeine may help in the short term, it can have some adverse effects in the long run. Consider cutting back on your coffee intake and maximizing your diet to help you stay active and ready for anything. Here are four foods that will keep you feeling energized all day long. They don’t end with latte, but we promise they offer lots of nutritional benefits.


1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a superfood. The chemical makeup of the grain lets your body process it slowly, which means rather than the quick shot of energy from coffee, oatmeal will keep your brain and body powering all morning long. The body appreciates consistency; you’ll feel better with a steady supply of energy than you would with constant peaks and dips from caffeine fixes.


Oats have also been known to increase the brain’s production of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which means that your mood stays as elevated as your energy levels. Decreased stress levels and increased memory recall means that you’ll be on top of your game. Be wary of instant oatmeal packets with lots of extra sugar. Your best bet is plain old oatmeal with a little honey or maple syrup for flavor. Not a fan of the texture? Not to worry. Oat milk is a great alternative with the added benefit of calcium for bone strength.


2. Lean Protein

Most people are concerned about getting enough protein with regard to diet. The truth is, you probably do. However, the type of protein that you decide upon makes all the difference. Protein is largely responsible for cell maintenance and construction. It also helps your blood clot and producing antibodies that help you stay healthy in the midst of germs. Above all, it helps to provide energy and encourages the body to feel full. Great types of lean protein to consider include salmon, grass-fed beef, eggs, and nuts like walnuts. These types of lean protein for lunch following your oatmeal breakfast will keep your energy consistent rather than letting it spike and dip.


3. Dark, Leafy Greens

Vegetables like spinach, collards, and kale are full of vitamins A, B, and C. The B group of vitamins is responsible for maintaining energy throughout the day. Consider throwing some kale or spinach in with your lean protein for lunch to really make the most of your meal. Alternatively, you might throw some in with your next pizza, pasta dish, or smoothie. These veggies are also high in fiber, which means your digestive system benefits just as much as your energy levels.


4. Sweet Potatoes

These orange gems stabilize energy levels, provide more fiber, and are absolutely full of potassium. The potassium means that your muscles are less likely to fatigue and cramp over the course of the day. It also balances electrolytes, which means that you’re more likely to stay hydrated. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of decreased energy. Sweet potatoes have also been linked to stress reduction, grounding, and lowering blood pressure.


Whatever your flavor preferences are, rest assured that there are foods available to energize you throughout the day. More consistent than coffee and packed with much less sugar, these aids will have you ready for meeting after meeting and organized enough to leave work with enough time to pick up the kiddos and start your second shift at home. Your busy schedule is no match for oatmeal, lean protein, dark, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes.


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