The holidays are a great time to relax, unwind, and indulge. However, when it’s over we are often left feeling bloated, tired, and perhaps a bit sluggish. Try incorporating these energy boosting foods to your diet regularly to make 2018 your best year yet!
- Legumes (e.g., kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, etc.)
Legumes are a great source of protein, fibre, and iron. Adding them to your soups, salads, or pastas is a great way to boost your protein intake without having meat.
Tip: Make a bean burrito, lentil tacos, or slow cooked soups using legumes. They are a cheap source of protein and very tasty! Did you know that lentils have a similar texture to meat?
- Fatty Fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, etc.)
Fatty fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein. Omega 3 fatty acids have been associated with improved mood, reduced depression, and they are great for heart health. Enjoying fatty fish will help keep you feeling satisfied and energized until your next meal.
Tip: I like to keep it simple. Bake salmon at 400 F for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle olive oil on the salmon and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and crushed fresh garlic.
- Nuts (e.g, almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts)
Nuts are great sources of healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, and magnesium. Magnesium in particular plays an important role in converting our food into energy. In addition, many research studies have found associations between improved heart health and regular nut intake.
Tip: Nuts are nutrient dense, stick to ¼ cup each day to receive the benefits but not overdue it on calories.
- Spinach or other dark leafy greens (e.g., kale)
Skip the iceberg lettuce and use spinach or kale instead. Dark leafy greens are loaded with antioxidants and fibre. Spinach can be eaten raw in salads or smoothies, but it can also be added to soups, pastas, or cooked and served as a side dish.
Tip: Keep some fresh spinach in your fridge over the winter months. Anytime you are having soup, boost up the nutrient content by adding a handful of fresh spinach. The hot soup will wilt the spinach and you will get more veggies in your meal.
- Seeds (e.g., chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseeds)
Seeds are similar to nuts in that they provide our bodies with healthy fats (omega 3s and vitamin E), protein, and fibre. The combination of nutrients gives you the energy you need to fuel your day.
Tip: Give yourself an energy boost by adding seeds to your yogurt, smoothie, sprinkled on salads, toasted bread, or even in healthy baked goods.
Berries are one of the fruits that are lower in sugar but packed with flavour. They help satisfy your sweet tooth but also provide you with fibre and powerful antioxidants.
Tip: Include berries as part of your midday snack to help give yourself a natural energy boost and satisfy sweet cravings.
We cook and use quinoa similar to other grains, but unlike other grains it is pretty much a complete protein that is also rich in iron, fibre, and B vitamins. Try making a quick and simple spinach and quinoa salad for your work lunches (see recipe below).
Tip: Use quinoa in soups, salads, or as a substitute for another grain (like rice).
- Water – Stay hydrated!
Even the slightest amount of dehydration can easily leave you feeling fatigued or sluggish. The next time you are feeling tired, drink a big glass of water.
Tip: Add flavour to your water with some slices of lemon, lime or cucumber. Fresh or frozen berries can also be added and infused overnight for extra flavour. In addition, you can eat the fruit once you’re finished.
The best way to ensure any success is to plan ahead. Include these foods on your grocery list, keep them easily accessible in the cupboard and fridge, and take some time to plan out your meals for the day or even the week. A little planning goes a long way and what seems to be ‘work’ at first soon becomes second nature!
Cheers to happy and heathy eating!
Angela Wallace is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, and Family Food Expert specializing in women and child nutrition and fitness. She loves helping families get healthy together. Angela offers various nutrition and exercise consulting options including cooking lessons, meal planning, and weight loss programs.