By Jill Tomlin
It also takes a lot of energy to digest fatty foods, so keep your
meals and snacks relatively lean. Try, too, to include a combination of
carbohydrates and protein in each meal so that you get the
energy-enhancing benefits of both nutrients.
The following high-energy snacks/mini-meals all have the
carb/protein mix going for them and each provides some of the vitamins
and minerals you need to keep your body revved up.
Ten Anti-Fatigue Foods
- Trail mix This mix of
dried fruit, nuts and seeds is high in iron, which helps the blood
transport oxygen, a primary ingredient in the body's energy-making
system. Eat in moderation since the fat in the nuts and seeds can add
- Fortified whole-grain cereal with 1% milk and sliced banana
Most fortified cereals are chock full of B-vitamins-thiamin,
riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, B6 and B12. The Bs are instrumental of
the break down of food into fuel. Bananas also provide potassium, which
help the muscles contract and aids in maintaining the body's fluid
balance-important because dehydration can be fatiguing.
- Yogurt with strawberries This combination gives you a healthy dose of vitamin C, which helps increase the body's absorption of iron.
- Egg sandwich on whole-wheat toast
Skip the butter on this sandwich to keep the fat content down, and you
end up with a nice package of B vitamins (in both the whole-wheat toast
and eggs), iron, carbohydrate and protein.
- Half bagel with light cream cheese You get the carbs and protein (from the cream cheese) without much fat. Bonus: a dollop of calcium.
- Toasted frozen waffle spread with peanut butter
The waffle covers you on carbohydrates-the muscles' main source of
fuel-while the peanut butter provides protein and a good dose of B
- A smear of hummus on pita bread
Legumes like garbanzo beans (the main ingredient in hummus) are a good
source of protein and zinc, which is mineral needed for mental energy.
- Cup of bean soup Like the hummus, a good source of protein and zinc.
- Cut-up fruit sprinkled with chopped walnuts or sliced almonds
Fruit provides sugar, which the body uses for quick energy, but unlike,
say, a candy bar, it also has vital vitamins, minerals and fiber. The
nuts deliver protein.
- Water H20 keeps the
body's blood volume up, insuring that ample amounts of the nutrients
and oxygen needed for energy get transported to the cells. Water also
enables critical electrical messages-like those that make your muscles
move and brain think-to move between cells. At the very least, try to
get of 8 to 12 cups of water a day (non-caffeinated drinks like juice
also count toward your daily fluid intake.)
Worst Energy Stealers
- Double espresso Caffeine
will boost your energy initially, but it may ultimately make you more
tired. That's because caffeine displaces a brain chemical with natural
sedating power called adenosine. But adenosine doesn't go away, it
builds up and when the caffeine in your body dissipates, the calming
chemical can take hold with a vengeance.
- Chocolate candy bar A
dose of sugar and caffeine will wake you up, but when you turn to candy
for a quick fix, you fill up on a food that really has no long-acting
energy boosting vitamins and minerals.
- Ginseng ice tea Like
coffee, this caffeinated drink will give you a short-term lift. Most of
these teas don't contain enough of the herb to make a difference and
ginseng works over time (not immediately) to increase energy.
- Big slice of cheesy pizza
When you consume a lot of fat at one sitting, your body's energy
resources get directed to your digestive system, keeping them from
where you really need them-in your brain and muscles.