Helpful hints on what to eat and what not to eat.
It’s 12 pm. and the inevitable mental haze descends. You stare at your computer, unable to think let alone make it through the rest of the day.
The foods you eat, particularly at lunchtime are your first line of defence against the afternoon slump. Eating the correct foods at lunch mean you’ll crush the office speed-typing contest with energy left for the commute that evening.
You don’t need to rely only on energy drinks, packaged sports bars or supplements to gain a boost of energy. Simply by eating whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and foods containing water will help you gain a blast of vitality to make it through your day.
Your body’s primary energy source is carbohydrates. Whole grains last in your body longer, which gives you more endurance and are also loaded with B-vitamins, which help boost your energy and metabolism. You can consume whole grain through whole-wheat bread, whole-grain cereal (such as shredded wheat or raisin bran), oatmeal and brown rice.
For an immediate energy burst, have a handful of strawberries. These also contain fibre, which helps your body more slowly absorb the carbohydrates you consume from strawberries and provides longer-lasting energy.
Any fresh fruit, however, can provide you with an energy lift. Fresh fruits make an especially good mid-afternoon snack. Having 1 cup of cooked broccoli gives you as much vitamin C as an orange. By simply increasing your vitamin C intake, it helps you stay more energized. Instead of vitamin C supplements, eat broccoli or other vegetables that contain vitamin C, including radishes, cabbage and spinach.
Your body must receive enough iron to keep energy levels constant. Lacking iron is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Common iron-deficiency symptoms include low energy and fatigue.
Pork contains iron and is also a good source of B-vitamins including niacin and thiamine, which help increase metabolism. Select lean pork cuts such as pork chops and tenderloins, higher fat foods can make you feel sluggish and weigh you down. Other lean meats with similar nutritional facts as pork include chicken breast, prawns and beef tenderloin.
Pairing complex carbohydrates with protein and a little bit of healthy fat is the best way to keep your energy levels stable the entire afternoon. A sandwich is perhaps the easiest way to get all three micro-nutrients in a single meal. Top whole-grain bread with a few slices of healthy fat in the form of avocado. Pile on tomatoes, bean sprouts and spinach which are all packed with vitamins and minerals. Use canned tuna or shredded chicken breast for extra protein. Another easy lunch option is a salad with lots of vegetables, beans for protein and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Carbohydrates are digested quickly and will give you an energy boost, but refined carbohydrates such as white bread or a cookie digest too quickly, causing your blood sugar to spike and drop in rapid succession.
A better option is complex carbohydrates, which stabilize your blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates including fruits and vegetables, whole-grain pasta and bread, hummus and brown rice are all ultimately better for you.
Our bodies consist of two-thirds water. Water helps control your body temperature and digestion. You need water to produce energy. Slight dehydration can contribute to making you feel tired, resulting in mental haze.
So whatever you choose to eat for lunch make sure it’s packed full of vitamins, iron, complex carbohydrates and fibre for a power boosting lunch!
Written by Greg Morriss for Euroffice.