The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Your Energy Levels

Do you often find your energy hitting rock bottom by mid-afternoon?

This is something many people struggle with, and frankly it ain’t much fun! You’ve deadlines to meet, and meetings to attend, and you’ve  certainly no time to crawl into bed for an afternoon snooze!

So, what’s the secret to boundless energy?

Unfortunately, there really is no secret. But, following a healthy diet and taking regular exercise will certainly be a huge help.

Healthy eating to increase energy levels

One of the main excuses people make for not eating well is lack of time. And, while it’s not always easy finding time to prepare healthy meals, you should really be asking yourself, “What’s the alternative?”

Let’s be realistic, if you eat junk, you’ll feel terrible…simple as that.

So, if you’re really serious about improving your health, you need to start putting some energy into looking after yourself.

energy

Let’s start with the basics for a healthy diet…

#1 Aim to eat 4-6 small meals per day
Are you eating at regular intervals?

Many people fall into the trap of not eating for long stretches of the day, breaking for fast food, and then topping up with a huge supper later on. But, this certainly isn’t the way to increase your energy levels.

In actual fact, eating like this can lead to more stress, irritability, and decreased energy levels.

Instead try to eat 4-6 smaller meals each day to help regulate your blood sugars, and maintain a high energy level.

#2 Focus on whole foods
Eating a diet rich in whole, minimally processed foods is extremely important not only for your overall health, but also to maximize your energy levels.

To make sure you’re getting the most energy out of your diet eat a range of foods from all five of the main food groups. These are fruits and veggies, carbohydrates, proteins, dairy, fats and sugars.

Eat lots of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
Aim for more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, preferably from whole produce, rather than juices.

A serving would be:

  • 1 medium piece of fruit
  • 2 small fruits, such as plums
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried fruit
  • ½ cup diced fruit – fresh, cooked, canned
  • ¾ cup fruit or veggie juice
  • 1 cup raw leafy vegetables
  • ½ cup cooked vegetables

Eat plenty of high fibre carbs
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates can and should be included in a healthy diet. If you make the right choices, and control your portion size, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be eating them at each meal.

This is an excellent food group for providing energy for the body, but do make sure you go for high fibre varieties most of the time, as this will help to keep your energy levels stable.

Included in this group are wholegrain breads, cereals, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, and potatoes.

A serving would be:

  • 1 slice bread
  • ½ bun, bagel, muffin
  • 1 cup ready to eat cereal
  • ½ cup cooked cereal, pasta, rice, other grains, or potato

You should aim for six of more servings from this group per day.

Have protein foods at each meal
Eat around 3 portions from this group per day. Foods included here are meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, and nuts.

Where possible go for lean or low fat options, and trim visible fat before cooking

A serving would be:

  • 2 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring)
  • 5 ounces of cooked white fish
  • 1 small tin of canned fish
  • ½ cup cooked beans, peas, lentils
  • 4 ounces of soy or tofu
  • 1 ½ ounces nuts, nut butter, seeds

Eat 3 portions of dairy foods each day
Go for reduced fat or fat free options where possible.

A serving would be:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of yoghurt
  • 1 ounce of reduced fat cheese (3 grams fat or less per serving)

Limit foods high in fat and sugar
Foods that are high in sugar, such as chocolate, cakes, and fizzy drinks will give your body an instant energy rush, however they can often leave your feeling more drained than before.

Fats are divided into saturated and unsaturated fats. Eating a small amount of unsaturated fat is actually good for the body.

However, try to steer clear of foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. Instead, choose products containing 1 gram of saturated fat, or less, per serving, and limit your intake of butter, lard, and solid shortenings.

My top 7 energy giving foods:

  • Rolled oats
  • Berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lentils
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Fresh figs
  • 100% whole grain bread

Article continues on the next page with 3 more tips on increasing energy…

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane April 9, 2009 at 3:01 am

Why, oh why, oh why do I have to eat “veggies?” I don’t eat “chickie” or “fishie” – haven’t since I was about four years old. Please just let me eat vegetables! Okie dokie?

Reply

Melanie April 9, 2009 at 3:19 am

Jane,
I think that’s being rather pedantic. If you count the number of times I used these words you’ll find I used “veggies” once, and “vegetables” five times. I really don’t think it matters.

I appreciate all comments from my readers, but please keep them relevant, or appropriately critical if necessary.

Reply

Sarah The Trainer April 24, 2009 at 1:39 am

Really Jane? Did you atleast get the point of the article? It doesn’t matter weather they used the word Veggies or Vegetables, you got the justice of it didn’t you. So why make such a pointless comment. So to save myself from making a pointless comment;
I think your absolutely right these are probably the most proactive steps. Thank you :)

Reply

Melanie April 24, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Hey Sarah,
Thank you for commenting!!! :-)

Reply

Rob May 13, 2009 at 12:30 am

Just surfed on in and found this page while looking for nutritional food info. Great website Mel – and good article. I’m headed to the grocery today for some foods to keep at my desk at work, mainly for my snacks in the day. You’ve given some good pointers.

Reply

Melanie May 15, 2009 at 3:03 am

Hey Rob,
Great to hear from you! Hope you found some healthy food at the store for your desk!!

Reply

Isabell January 14, 2014 at 8:36 pm

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I am assuming you book marked it yourself and wanted to ask
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Reply

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