Fatigue is a common problem that many people struggle with. Energy levels are directly related to dietary habits and nutrition. Eating a balanced diet and including mostly whole foods can help improve energy levels. It’s a different way, perhaps to think about eating: focusing on foods to increase energy and motivation including fruits that give you energy.
Different types of foods are converted to energy at different rates. For example, white flour products and other simple sugars provide quick energy that dips shortly after. Whole grain products, like quinoa and whole wheat bread, provide long-lasting energy that prevents that afternoon slump.
Foods to increase energy and motivation
Limiting processed and refined foods is critical for optimizing energy levels throughout the day. Increasing whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds is truly essential. It’s also important to consider balancing each meal or snack with appropriate food groups such as complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
Follow these tips to optimize your energy levels and avoid fatigue:
1. Small frequent meals + focus on these foods to increase energy and motivation
Eating large meals can dip energy levels because the digestive system uses lots of energy to break down all the food, stealing energy from the rest of the body and making you feel sluggish. Eating small balanced meals that include vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates 3-4 times a day is best for energy levels.
2. Avoid low-carb diets
Contrary to popular belief, cutting out carbohydrates is not the best way to achieve weight loss. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our brains and bodies. Choosing complex carbs such as brown rice, whole grain bread, oats, and fruits instead of restricting them is best.
3. Drink more water
Water is essential for carrying nutrients to cells and removing waste products from the body. It’s common to not feel thirsty when the body is used to being dehydrated so it’s important to be mindful of water intake. A general recommendation for water intake is 2.7 liters/day for women and 3.7 liters/day for men. This varies depending on weather, activity levels, and diet.
4. Limit alcohol + processed foods
Alcohol is a diarrhetic and dehydrates the body which can cause low energy levels. Processed foods are harmless in moderation but when eaten frequently they can negatively affect health and cause fatigue.
5. Nourish your body with snacks + fruits that give you energy
Food is our main source of energy, and skipping meals or snacks can also trigger fatigue. Avoid going more than 5-6 hours without meals or snacks. This can lead to excess hunger, low energy, and possible headaches. Eating a balanced snack between meals can be beneficial for health and energy.
Snack ideas for boosting energy levels
- Greek yogurt with Sun-Maid or Orchard Choice California Dried Figs and pumpkin seeds
- Chia pudding with berries and dried figs
- Apple slices with peanut butter and mini dark chocolate chips
- Smoothie bowl with nuts, seeds, and dried figs on top (recipe below)
- Cinnamon fig cream cheese dip
- Whole wheat bread with avocado and cottage cheese.
- Garlic avocado toast with olives
- Blue cheese dried fig sweet potato toast
All of the snacks listed above include fiber, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. They are also great for post-workout snacks!
Vegan Fig Smoothie Bowl
- 1/2 cup peach chunks , frozen
- 1/2 cup pineapple bits , frozen
- 1 cup cherries , frozen
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- 1/2 cup almondmilk
- Hemp seeds
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Golden Dried Figs , stems removed + sliced
- Add all ingredients except almondmilk to a blender.
- Add 1/2 cup plant-based milk to start. Slowly add a bit more milk if it needs help blending. Avoid adding too much if you want a thick and creamy smoothie.
- Serve in a chilled bowl and add desired toppings.