Eating The Right Food For Energy

energy fruit smoothie

Eating a balanced, low carb diet has lots of notable benefits, like weight loss and improving your overall health. But did you know the types of food you choose to eat play an important role in your daily energy levels? Next time you need a little pick-me-up, skip the caffeine and energy drinks and try one of the following energy-boosting foods instead.

Choosing Foods High In Protein & Fiber For Energy

There’s a reason you feel exhausted after eating junk food. And while caffeine and sugar will give you a quick rush, they are frequently followed by an even faster crash. That’s because foods high in sugar, unhealthy trans fats, and empty carbs require more energy to digest, leaving you feeling hungry and sluggish. By avoiding simple carbs and sugar like those found in white bread, candy, and processed food, and emphasizing whole foods with a low glycemic impact, you will not only stay alert, but you can maintain high levels of energy throughout the day.

To up your energy, focus on eating foods filled with protein and fiber to fuel your body. Regular protein intake boosts your metabolism and generates healthy muscle. And although it is a carbohydrate, fiber does not convert to glucose and thus does not raise your blood-sugar level the way carbohydrates typically do. Fiber actually slows the entry of glucose into the bloodstream, reducing the blood-sugar spikes that cause insulin production and encourage the body to produce and store body fat. And by slowing down food’s transit time in the digestive tract, fiber not only minimizes the impact of carbohydrates on your blood sugar and insulin levels, but also helps you feel full longer, resulting in fewer food cravings.

Healthy Foods that Give You Energy

Consistently eating balanced, nutritious meals is essential for stabilizing blood sugar levels, avoiding extreme sugar highs and lows, and staying energized throughout your day. It is also important to eat something every few hours, as skipping meals can also lead to fatigue. Planning ahead so you’re always armed with protein- and fiber-rich foods will also eliminate the temptation to reach (or drive thru) for something less healthy when you start to feel hungry. So put a pep in your step with some of our favorite foods and drinks that give you energy.

  • Water: It is so important to stay hydrated! Dehydration may not only make you feel tired and hungry, but it can lead to headaches and bad moods. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps aid digestion and many of the body’s metabolic processes, including energy production. So drink up!

  • Salmon: This fish contains protein, vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, and riboflavin, which all help fight fatigue naturally by turning what you eat into energy. Salmon is also one of the few natural sources of vitamin D. Try this Smoked Salmon, Tomato and Cream Cheese Stack (2.1g net carbs) for a quick and easy, energy-boosting snack.

  • Chia seeds: A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium, chia seeds also have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to help you stay alert without a carb crash. Easily incorporate these small, but mighty seeds into smoothies or sprinkle on top of yogurt.  

  • Eggs: Eat them any way from hard-boiled to over-easy, this eggcelent source of complete protein, healthy fats, and amino acids helps fight fatigue and sugar cravings. Not just for breakfast, try these Atkins-approved egg recipes to enjoy the energy-boosting benefits any time of day.

  • Avocado: Skip the croutons and top your salad with slices of avocado for a lunchtime pick-me-up that will keep you energized throughout the rest of the day. Avocados are full of fiber and healthy fats, which are digested more slowly than simple carbs, resulting in more sustainable energy.

  • Spinach: A lack of iron (a key component in energy production) in your body can lead to a decrease in oxygen flow to the brain, which can make you feel more tired. Spinach is an excellent source of iron, and it is easy to incorporate into any meal throughout the day. Add some to your omelette or smoothie in the morning, to your salad at lunch, or saute some with dinner.

  • Almonds: These powerhouse nuts contain tons of protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats, manganese, copper, and B-vitamins like niacin, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin, which help convert food to energy, as well as magnesium, a mineral that aids in energy metabolism. Keep a container in your bag or at your desk for quick and easy snacking next time you’re feeling sluggish.

  • Strawberries: Tempted by your coworker’s candy drawer? Avoid the sugar crash that inevitably follows, by swapping out sweets for strawberries. Not only are the natural sugar from this (or any!) fruit is far superior to refined sugars, but berries also contain fiber, which helps your body absorb the natural sugar more slowly and sustains your energy levels.

  • Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese contains casein, a type of protein that provides your bloodstream and body with a steady flow of energy and will help keep you feeling full. One half cup of 2% fat cottage cheese has 12.5g of protein and 4.1g net carbs.

  • Yogurt: Full of magnesium, yogurt is a great snack option to help sustain your energy between meals or post-workout. Try it with berries and nuts on top for even more energy-inducing protein and fiber.

  • Beans: These legumes contain a well-balanced combo of complex carbs, protein, and fiber. You’ll get an energy boost from the carbs, while the protein, fat, and fiber will fill you up and regulate blood sugar by slowing down your carb absorption. Try this Wax Beans with Bell Peppers and Lemon recipe or snack on some hummus and vegetables.

  • Sweet Potato: Fight fatigue with sweet potatoes, which are loaded with good, complex carbs, fiber, and vitamins A and C. One half of a baked sweet potato has 9.9g net carbs.

  • Apples: Because they’re packed with fiber, apples take longer to digest, which means snacking on this delicious fruit will provide you with more prolonged energy than other sugary snacks. Add cheese or a handful of nuts for double the boost.

  • Bananas: Not only are bananas filled with good-for-you nutrients like B-vitamins, potassium, and fiber, they’re also composed of multiple types of sugars that are digested at different speeds, making them an excellent energy-sustaining food. One study found that bananas, along with plain water, fueled cyclists just as well as sports drinks!

  • Oranges: This citrus fruit provides lasting, steady energy levels thanks to their natural sugars, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Skip the OJ and go for the real thing.

  • Smoothies: Smoothies are a fast and easy way to create the perfect balance of carbs, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They’re also a great way to pack more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables into your day. Blend up a combination of the above list of foods that give you energy, or try one of these Atkins-approved smoothie recipes.

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