Lots of mums complain of feeling tired, sluggish, getting that mid-afternoon slump, in need of caffeine, cake or wanting to crawl back to bed… Sound familiar? Read on for energy-boosting tips and simple diet fixes to put a spring back in your step!
1. Never skip breakfast – missing breakfast increases the chance of carb-cravings and over-eating later that day, which can trigger a drop in blood sugar levels making you tired. Even if you’re short of time or not hungry at breakfast, a piece of fruit and a few raw nuts or yoghurt can make a difference. If you have time, eggs make a great energy-boosting breakfast.
2. Your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to produce energy:
- Magnesium – good sources include dark green leafy veg, pumpkin seeds, fresh basil and coriander, sesame seeds (tahini, hummus), cashew nuts, halibut, pollock, coconut water and almonds.
- B vitamins – good sources include eggs, sunflower seeds, chicken, peas, romaine lettuce, salmon, broccoli, peppers, black beans, yoghurt, spinach, avocado, corn, sweet potato, almonds, lentils, tuna, turkey, cod and sesame seeds.
- Iron is needed to carry oxygen to cells – many women are iron-deficient so speak to your GP if you think you may be. Good food sources include red meat, lentils, spinach, sesame seeds, tofu, dried apricots, olives and lima beans.
- Amino acids – these are the building blocks of protein and a number of different amino acids are needed for optimal energy production. Eating some animal-based food daily, such as fish, meat, eggs or dairy, will provide you with all amino acids. If you’re not a meat or fish eater it’s important to eat a variety of vegetable-based proteins such as beans, lentils and nuts to make sure you’re taking in all the amino acids you need to keep energised.
3. Keep hydrated! Dehydration causes tiredness and too many of us fill up on caffeine drinks across the day, which are dehydrating, instead of water. If you struggle to drink water then try squeezing some fresh lemon or lime in to make it more palatable.
4. Step away from the cookie jar! Yes, I’m afraid no matter how tasty and energising that chocolate, cookie or cake seems, it will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leaving you sleepy. Instead reach for hummus, fruit & nuts, yoghurt, falafel, a crunchy carrot, olives, avocado, miso soup or even a glass of water to fill the gap between meals.
5. Always have protein at lunch – having too many carbs (even if they are wholegrain) and too little protein at lunch is a typical reason for the mid-afternoon slump. Try to balance your lunch by including some chicken, eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds or choosing lentils or beans instead of bread or pasta. Here are some meal and snack ideas packed with energy-boosting nutrients: Poached eggs on spinach – Pesto-topped salmon, cod or halibut with broccoli – Baked sweet potato with a rocket, olive and avocado salad – Tofu, spinach, red pepper and broccoli stir-fry with fresh coriander and cashew nuts – Almond nut butter on wholegrain toast – Hummus with pepper strips – Fish pie made with salmon and pollock, topped with mashed sweet potato, served with peas – Grilled steak with Romaine lettuce salad and sweet potato chips – Chicken curry with spinach and lentil dahl and a spoonful of yoghurt on top.
For more nutrition info please visit Nourish to Flourish. Always speak to your GP first if you have any concerns about your health. The recommendations above do not replace professional medical treatment. Neither Stephanie Ridley nor Kiddicare accept legal responsibility for any injury or illness sustained while following the advice given.