Eating the right foods for all-day energy
plenty of zip to meet the demands of your job and
personal life starts with your diet
To maintain your energy level, your body breaks down
the food you eat into glucose (blood sugar)-the
body's main fuel and sends a steady stream of it to
But here's the trick to feel energized throughout
the day, your blood glucose level should stay within
a certain range.
If your blood glucose drop Loa low-which can happen
if you go too long without eating you're going to
feel lightheaded and lethargic.
If you eat the wrong kinds of foods, your blood
glucose can spike and drop, eventually causing the
With this in mind, here's how to eat for all day
energy and keep your blood glucose level stable.
DON'T SKIP MEALS
Not eating meals is one of the fastest routes to low
If you skip breakfast, your ability to concentrate
will likely suffer all morning.
Skip lunch and by 3 p.m. your energy level and
concentration will inevitably crash.
The reason: Your brain needs glucose to function.
To keep your blood glucose from dipping, and thus
zapping your physical and mental energy, eat three
meals or six smaller meals a day consistently and
don't go more than 4 hours without eating
Make sure your meals include a mix of complex
carbohydrates-such as grain products, fresh
vegetables and fruit, beans, lentils and other
legumes, protein and some fat.
At breakfast, have waffles topped with fresh fruit
(both are mostly carbohydrate) and a cup of low-fat
or nonfat yogurt (a mix of protein, carbohydrate and
At lunch, have a ham-and-cheese sandwich on
whole-grain bread (this provides protein, fat and
carbohydrate) and a piece of fruit (this is mostly
carbohydrate). A combination of carbohydrates,
protein and fat helps moderate blood-glucose
absorption so your blood sugar rises gradually.
On the other hand, if you eat only carbohydrates,
such as the fruit alone, your blood glucose level
will rise and drop quickly, leaving you hungry and
low on energy within an hour or two after you eat.
Similarly, if you only eat protein, you'll get
calories, but they won't kick in fast enough to make
you feel energized when you need it.
To counteract energy lulls you feel during the day,
eat snacks that mix carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Good energy-sustaining snacks include low-fat yogurt
with fruit; cheese and crackers; an apple with
peanut butter; and low-fat cookies, such as graham
crackers or gingersnaps, and a glass of skim mille
If you experience an energy low that makes you feel
shaky or keeps you from focusing on your work, opt
for a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as a whole-grain
breakfast bar or a glass of fruit juice.
Doing so will raise your blood glucose energy levels
quickly. Either way, be sure to keep your snack
light to avoid weight gain.