There’s no denying that in our jam-packed modern lifestyles, eating for optimum health, vitality and above all, energy, often gets left unchecked at the bottom of the list. Fuelling your body for the day however doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Below are our top 5 tips to ensure your mind and body can last the distance.
1. Don’t skip breakfast.
Mornings can often be the most rushed time of day, however it is vital that you literally break your fast from the night before to kick start your metabolism and get your body humming. (Sorry, coffee doesn’t cut it!)
Skip the sugary and nutritionally-void cereals and go straight for protein and fat rich foods - think eggs, smoked salmon and avocado. Really pushed for time? Prepare batches of overnight oats or chia pudding the night before and keep in small glass pots in the fridge for an easy grab-and-go option.
2. Don’t leave it too long between meals / snacks.
So you’ve eaten breakfast but your lunch meeting isn’t until 2pm. Unfortunately that’s just too long a gap without anything in your stomach and is a sure fire way to set you up for failure when lunch time rolls around (hello bread basket). When morning hunger strikes, reach for dry roasted almonds or try slicing up an apple and topping the slices with almond butter. The good fats will keep you full as well as slow down the absorption of the apple’s fructose, keeping you satisfied until lunch time.
The same goes for afternoon snacks. A five to six hour stretch between lunch and dinner is too long and can lead to fatigue. When the afternoon slump hits, reach for some Greek yoghurt topped with berries, or some carrot sticks with hummus to keep your metabolism, and consequently your energy levels, humming.
3. Skip the kitchen treats.
This one goes without saying but just because it’s someone’s birthday isn’t a reason to indulge in the birthday cake. When sweet cravings hit, have a stash of protein balls nearby or a small square of dark (80% cacao) chocolate to dig into instead of that cake. Both your waist line and your brain will thank you for it, with no inevitable sugar crash to follow.
4. Stay hydrated.
A hydrated body is a well functioning body. Often, reaching for the water instead of the snacks not only fills us up, but may work to give you a burst of energy. Keep a glass water jug or bottle with you throughout your day and ensure to take regular sips, even when you don’t feel thirsty. Extra bathroom trips also have the added benefit of getting you out of your chair!
5. Be present with your food.
There’s a reason why the saying ‘eat when hungry, stop when full’ is so well known. It is also so simple, yet many people are that out of tune with their bodies that they sit grazing all day, never knowing true hunger, whilst rushing through their meals to get on to the next thing.
If you can slow down and tap into your body’s cues, only eating when you’re actually hungry, and complement that hunger with a healthy snack or meal, you’ve won the battle. How to tune into your body? Ditch the distractions whilst eating. That means no email, phone or work. Take time to savour each bite, appreciating the flavours and textures of your food, even if it’s only for ten minutes of the day.
The key takeaway from the above? Being mindful of what goes into your body, both the food itself and how you eat it, is key to establishing healthy routines and setting yourself up to win the day.