We’ve all experienced that mid-afternoon slump. Your eyes get heavy, it takes effort just to get yourself out of your chair, and you’re just not feeling motivated! Your first instinct might be to reach for a cup of coffee or a sugary snack to give you a quick boost – and this desire is completely understandable. But while you may get a quick energy boost, that feeling fades quickly and can leave you depleted and craving more sweets.
While it’s true that your body converts food into energy, different kinds of foods are converted to energy at different rates. There are certain foods you can eat — such as candy and other simple sugars — that will give you a quick lift. Others — such as whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats — give you more sustained energy to draw on throughout the day.
Next time you go shopping, help keep your family healthy by choosing some of these food listed below for a more nutritious form of energy.
Bananas may be the best quick snack for sustained energy. While bananas are a good natural source of sugar, they are also rich in fibers that help slow the digestion of that sugar. Bananas contain helpful nutrients that make the body feel full of energy. A study is even shown that eating a banana helps with your performance and endurance! Bananas are also made up from three different types of sugar (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) which get absorbed into your blood at different speeds, meaning that you will get a quick boost of energy and at the same time keep your blood levels steady. It's also an added bonus that it's naturally sweet and super tasty - which is what inspired us to create our Banana Bread Granola and Chocolate Banana Goodness Bowls!
Sweet potatoes are packed with fibre, antioxidants and complex carbohydrates, which provides sustained energy throughout the day. Additionally, sweet potatoes also contain a ton of vitamin A (one 100-gram sweet potato alone will supply you with almost all of your daily recommended amount of it!) and vitamin C for an immune boost too. Sweet potatoes also have a decent amount of other micronutrients, such as B vitamins which are vital for bodily functions, including producing energy!
Oatmeal is a classic staple grain that most people enjoy, and a nutritional rocket fuel filled with fibre and complex carbohydrates - which has a good source of protein and a low glycemic index. Oatmeal digests slower and supplies energy evenly instead of all at once... A bowl in the morning will keep you going for hours. A bowl of oats is also a big blank canvas, ready to be combined with a truckload of other high-quality, nutritious ingredients that can make it an even better breakfast. With our product range of Goodness Bowls, it only takes 90 seconds to prepare a wholesome oat-based meal packed with fruits and nuts!
Packed with calcium and protein, yogurt makes a great snack choice! Some yogurts also contain probiotics (good bacteria for a healthy gut) and vitamin D (an important bone-building nutrient). Greek varieties can deliver nearly twice the amount of hunger-satisfying protein as regular varieties, making them a great way to fuel your day! The carbohydrates in yogurt are mainly in the form of simple sugars, including lactose and galactose. When broken down, these sugars provide the body with a read-to-use source of energy. It’s best to choose low-fat varieties of yogurt, with little added sugars. Amp up the flavour by adding some fresh fruits, granolas or nuts!
Fish, in general, is an excellent and light source of protein B vitamins and D vitamins that give the body sustained energy throughout the day. Fatty cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna, tend to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help improve brain function and reduce inflammation in the body, which is one of the cause of fatigue in some people. Salmon in particular contributes to many positive health benefits, and one of our favourite energy-boosting foods!
Dark chocolate is a tasty and easy way to increase energy. Rich, dark chocolate usually has much less sugar than milk chocolate. Less sugar means less immediate energy, but more cocoa content means more of the benefits of cocoa, including helpful antioxidants such as flavonoids. Dark chocolate may even benefit the cardiovascular system by helping more blood pump around the body. This blood carries fresh oxygen, which may also make a person feel more awake and alert. Dark chocolate is also packed with minerals that our body needs, which is why we included it in our Hazelnut Blackforest Granola and Chocolate Banana Goodness Bowl!
Quinoa may be the most widely recognisable of the so-called "ancient grains". High in protein, carbohydrates, fibre and provides all nine essential amino acides - something extremely rare to find in a plant product! In just one cup of cooked quinoa, it has 20% of daily value for iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E! The combination of amino acids and slow-release carbohydrates may make for sustainable energy rather than a short burst of glucose from other grains. That's a whole lot of goodness in this one tiny seed! That's also why we've included it as one of our key ingredients in our entire range of Goodness Bowls!
Last but not least... Water!
Although not really a food, it is an important component of food and plays so many vital roles in the body. Water is the most crucial energizing ingredient on this list and a necessity for every cell in the body to work correctly. While most people think of dehydration as an extreme scenario of not drinking water for days, the body may already become partially dehydrated if a person goes all morning without water. Maintaining energy can be as simple as carrying a water bottle around and sipping it throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.
Now that you've got this list, you can start switching out your mid-work snacks! Instead of popping open a sugary, belly-fattening energy drink or pouring yet another cup of coffee, load up on these nutrient-rich, energy-sustaining foods that give you energy to keep you going all day long.