Arin Agase is back to break down the top 10 foods that we all should be digging into in order to feel more energized throughout the whirlwind holiday events to come!
With the colder months upon us and its shorter days, we’re looking for anything to keep us awake! Instead of reaching for that second cup of coffee—or that soda refill for an instant, yet short-lived, caffeine jolt—we’ve got some yummy alternatives to an energizing, productive day! A healthy diet includes protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, so it’s important to nourish our mind and body with energizing nutrients and hydration. These will not only have a long-lasting effect on your days, but your life, too! Read on for 10 healthy foods/boosts to keeping your energy going, and going and going.
- Dark Chocolate: I’ll start with my personal favorite: dark chocolate! Here’s a fun fact: eating dark chocolate one to two times per week is actually good for you. It contains the natural stimulant theobromine (similar to coffee) for energizing and mood-boosting. It can help control blood pressure and fight against those bad cells—who knew!? Remember though: everything in moderation. Don’t over-do because dark chocolate can have a high fat content.
- Bananas: Filled with fiber, B vitamins and potassium, bananas contain natural energy—plus, they taste oh-so-good. They’re great snacks to grab on the go, so no excuses! If you’re looking to dress yours up, try freezing them for a refreshing bite. I also enjoy mine with small amounts of peanut butter for added protein.
- Green Tea: Caffeine from green tea feels steadier than the spike/crash of everyone’s BFF, coffee. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and energy. Try drinking tea before and after your workout. I guarantee you’ll notice a positive difference in your day!
- Eggs: Egg yolks are naturally rich in B vitamins, which help convert energy and build strong bones. Bonus: eggs are one of the best sources of protein, so make sure to chow down on them after an intense soul-cycle class! Note: try to use one egg, and two to three egg whites; this will eliminate excess fat and calories.
- Popcorn: Woah, who knew?! Popcorn is high in fiber and carbohydrates (without the butter, folks). It’s a whole-grain snack that will make you feel full and guilt-free!
- Whole Grains: Bread gets such a bad name! Whole grains do contain carbs, but they’re the complex kind that provide energy throughout the day. Try starting out with a piece of toast—you’ll then have the fuel to kick those conferences in the butt!
- H2O: Proper hydration is the key to a healthy body. Studies show that starting your day out with lemon-infused water will help increase your metabolism and energy. Sometimes, we confuse hunger with dehydration, so make sure you keep a water bottle near you throughout the day. Experts suggest about eight glasses per day, which is a lot!
- Almonds: A trip to Trader Joe’s isn’t complete without a bag of almonds! Almonds are packed with good fats (which help you stay full) and include fiber and nutrients. Remember: don’t over-do it—enjoy only one ounce of almonds/walnuts.
- Spinach: Take it from Popeye, spinach helps increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, which help produce energy in our cells. The same goes for dark, leafy greens. If you’re anything like me and struggle to eat greens, try mixing them into a smoothie. Sometimes, it’s easier to sip those daily quotas!
- Blueberries: It’s a superfood! Loaded with antioxidants, blueberries help with cognitive function and mental agility, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Perhaps a handful of these will help you at your next meeting!
Remember: It’s important to exercise, too! Diet and working out are like PB&J. When we sweat, we release endorphins, which increase mood, energy and metabolism. I highly recommend getting a quick workout in before the day ends. You’ll feel so much better!