Don’t you need to just relax or get more sleep to fight fatigue? How about taking medication to help you sleep and then to wake you up? Or maybe a little more caffeine?
We all seem to be tired and fatigued but don’t know how to fix it other than with sleep or a prescription. The truth is that the food you eat can give you more energy and make you feel better. Sound too good to be true? It’s not!
Here are several ways that you can ensure that you are nourishing your body and helping it get the rest that it needs to function properly:
- Eat breakfast every day (a healthy one – not a donut or something from the drive thru). High protein options will give you more energy and help you feel fuller longer. Good choices for a balanced meal include dairy (or a dairy substitute), grains, protein, and fruits and/or veggies. Note the absence of refined sugar – that eliminates donuts and most breakfast cereals. Selecting healthy options including foods that are high in fiber, low-fat and high protein will help you avoid the mid-morning energy crash.
- At lunch, avoid high fat or carbohydrate-loaded meals. Those foods will leave you tired and sluggish and wishing you could crawl under your desk and take a nap. Choosing high protein, high grains, and low-fat foods will keep your energy level high and provide your body with needed nutrients for optimal focus and concentration. Be sure to get enough calories (with real foods – not refined foods or fatty, empty calorie-laden choices). That hamburger and fries might taste good but you’ll be dragging the rest of the afternoon.
- Dinner seems to be the largest meal of the day for many of us. Ideally, calories from dinner should only be about 600 to avoid being too full or needing a midnight snack. You should avoid a large meal but still make sure to get the required nutrients. Dinner is the time to avoid high fat foods because fats slow down digestion. Foods high in amino acids, tryptophan, and serotonin will help you sleep (does this explain the nap you needed after Thanksgiving dinner?). Whole grains, pastas and rice can also help you sleep better.
- Snacks can be dangerous, especially if you are anywhere near a vending machine and having a snack craving. Unless you happen to have a vending machine filled with fruit, you’re better off passing it up and being prepared with healthy snacks. Easy snack ideas include humus with carrots, celery or other veggies, yogurt and granola (be sure to read the ingredients so you are really eating a healthy choice), protein shake or smoothie, nuts, or berries
- Drink lots of water throughout the day. Dehydration makes you feel tired. A glass of cold water will wake you right up (and not add any calories either).
There are many other lifestyle changes that you can make as well. Exercise, meditation, daily routines, and surrounding yourself with positive people are just a few ideas.
Do you feel energized by your food? What changes could you make to your diet that would help you increase your energy level?
If you are interested in reading more about using food to fight fatigue, I recommend this book (it’s another $2.99 bargain deal on Amazon :)):
And don’t forget about our December cookbook giveaway!