With the festive Christmas period fast approaching and the end of the year busyness at an all time high, it’s no wonder we’re left feeling a bit in need of an energy boost. Choosing your meals and snacks wisely and planning ahead can save you from a lot of unnecessary stress and save you energy for those important things in your life. Make sure to think about the day ahead and what you will be having as snacks and meals – this will stop the hunger pangs and low energy levels from stealing your thunder!
With all foods, try to choose low GI* (slow releasing) carbohydrates, because they provide energy for your body without causing a huge spike in your blood sugar (which will cause a slump in the energy levels when the blood sugar drops quickly again). Some low GI snacks are for example: apple, banana, dried apricots, carrots and plain porridge. When it comes to fuelling your body at mealtimes, opt for low GI meal choices. Make sure the foods are rich in fibre (such as whole grains and pulses), add some good quality protein to each meal to slow down digestion and absorption – thus keeping you energised for longer.
The best energising foods are those that are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Combine these foods together with small amounts of healthy fats for a balanced diet that is sure to provide you energy all day long.
So, combining different food groups is the way to go! Remember to count the colours on your plate – always aim for at least 3 different colours. An example of a fibre rich, colourful, low GI meal for lunch would be a red lentil salad on a bed of spinach, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn and edamame beans, topped with a salmon fillet and a citrusy olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Most importantly, don’t let your blood sugar levels drop too much during the day – keeping a stable blood sugar is the key to consistent energy levels and the feeling of being able to take on the challenges of the day = Eat little and more often to avoid the energy rollercoaster!
*The GI ranking of foods
Different types of carbohydrate foods can behave quite differently in our bodies. The glycaemic index (GI) describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels.