Feeling sluggish? Can't keep your eyes open? Lack of sleep making you grumpy? Try eating and drinking these...
Running around after the kids all day can leave us feeling sluggish and grumpy by teatime, but did you know that adding a few energy foods to your plate can make all the difference to your mood, health and get up and go?
We’re all guilty of overdoing it on the coffee, fizzy drinks or sugary snacks to keep us going on busy days. These quick-fixes can make us feel worse though, zapping our energy as the effects wear off. Energy foods work differently, steadily releasing energy so you’ll be wide awake (and ready for anything) all day long. Just imagine having enough energy to do the things you want to do, rather than wishing it was bedtime come 3pm. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Before you worry that energy foods are a new, faddy way of eating that will push up the price of your weekly shop, don’t. Most energy foods are cheap, all-natural (water, beans, oats) and probably already sitting in your kitchen cupboard, so you can start eating – and drinking – for more energy right now. Oh, and did we mention most energy foods are really good for you too?
Want to know what these energy foods are? Click through our gallery to find out…
Try pure oats - you'll really notice the difference! They're packed with slow-release energy and goodness like B vitamins which will give you more get up and go. Just make sure you buy oats in their purest form - oatmeal, instant porridge and flapjacks are usually packed with energy-zapping nasties like sugar.
Give our delicious berry blast porridge a try
Eat beans and bread - slow
release carbohydrates such as chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans, nuts
and grainy bread will keep your energy levels steady. White processed
carbs like sugar in tea and white bread, pasta and rice have the
Try making these healthy homemade baked beans today
Have caffeine with lunch - a cup
of coffee or tea in the middle of the day can help stop that 4 o'clock
slump. But drinking more than two or three caffeinated drinks a day
might actually make you feel worse because it interferes with blood
sugar levels. You might find you struggle to sleep at night too.
Increase your iron levels -
tiredness can indicate an iron deficiency called anaemia. A mild iron
deficiency will respond to eating more iron-rich foods such as red meat,
pulses and green vegetables. But if you have a more severe anaemia -
which will only show itself up through blood tests - then you'll need
strong iron tablets from your GP.
Eat enough calories -cutting
back by more than 500 calories a day can reduce the nutritional quality
of your diet and affect your energy levels. If you're dieting, eat
plenty of fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods and don't go lower
than around 1,400 calories day.
Eat seeds - they're great
energisers. Two teaspoons of sesame-rich tahini paste provide nearly
half the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium (so important
for energy release in cells) and a quarter of your RDA of iron. Keep in
your handbag for a healthy snack.
Drink plenty - being even mildly dehydrated can make you sleepy.
Aim for at least 1.5 litres of fluid - preferably water, but juice and
tea also count. Drink more if its hot, or you're exercising hard.
More reasons why water is good for you
They'll give you as much energy as a sports drink - and a vitamin boost too! Scientists have found that eating a banana before going for a run, getting on your bike or lacing up your trainers for that Zumba class will help you keep going for longer. They're packed with fibre, potassium and vitamin B6 too - all so important for good health.
On an oat cake with a couple of slices of chopped banana - for a delicious energy-boosting afternoon snack. Or try a handful of almonds. The healthy fats in these nuts will keep you going until teatime.
Eat fish for more energy - especially salmon or mackerel. Not only will they lower your chance of heart disease and make your skin glow, but oily fish contains energy-boosting omega 3. Try to eat it for lunch or dinner twice a week.
Our favourite salmon recipes