When you’re exhausted and struggling to make it through the dinner-bath-bed routine, it’s easy to go for the quick food option: something you can grab and run. Kids’ leftovers. Ready meals. Or Uber Eats.
But if you’re after sustained firepower to crush your hectic schedule with a little something left in the tank, follow these five food hacks for all day energy.
Eat enough protein
If you don’t eat enough protein, you’ll get hungry. Simple. You’ll keep eating mindless carbs and fats trying to fill up, without getting that satisfied feeling. Protein-filled meals can help keep you full so you don’t snack – and protein-based snacks are not as moreish as your regular muffin-and-coffee carb and fat fest, so you won’t mindlessly overeat.
- Try eggs, Greek yoghurt, lean white meat, cottage cheese and tofu for low cal protein options.
Ditch the booze
Alcohol offers nothing nutritionally. Sure, it’s mother’s little helper. Sure, some days it feels like a sweet reward for just surviving the tsunami of family life. Sure, there’s nothing like a crisp sauv blanc on a sunny afternoon at a beachfront bistro.
But what’s that glass of vino giving you? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing nutritious except a shed-load of calories you don’t need, and slowing down your natural detox system.
Your liver will ALWAYS prioritise metabolising external toxins rather than internal ones. It wants that alcohol gone, pronto. So what happens? Any other toxins in your system, any excess oestrogen or cholesterol, get put in the detox queue where they may be reabsorbed into your body, leading to a whole new set of problems, from low energy to weight gain and more.
- Try banishing the booze for just one week and feel the difference – you’ll sleep better, feel energised and reduce belly bloating.
Eat smarter carbs
Refined carbs unleash the insulin rollercoaster. You’ll be fuelled with energy to burn initially, followed by a slump and mad-dog cravings to keep feeding that sugar monster. High fibre, complex carbohydrates like whole grains, sweet potato, pumpkin and legumes are a better bet for sustained energy.
- Try Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Caramelised Onions for a nutrition-packed flavour bomb that definitely doesn’t taste like ‘diet’ food.
As little as two per cent dehydration resulted in a 13 per cent reduction in performance, in a Canadian study. Drink pure water daily – at least two litres, more if you’re training hard or sweating. (Side note: exercise also boosts energy so get moving every day – even a 10 minute walk helps. Bonus points if you manage outdoor exercise to soak up some Vitamin D and fresh air.)
I set my clients a three litre water target each day, and it makes a massive difference to energy, athletic performance, reducing headaches and improving digestion.
- Try a glass of water on waking, before every meal and keep a drink bottle handy throughout the day.
Eat enough fat
Fat doesn’t make you fat. Yes – donuts, cakes and muffins are poor nutritional choices. But healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olives and oily fish provide sustained energy without the insulin spike, are essential for vitamin absorption and hormone health. And they’ll help you feel full and satisfy your taste buds so you don’t go on a pantry rampage after dinner.
- Try a drizzle of avocado or olive oil over veggies, or add some pepitas or flaked almonds to your yoghurt.