Our energy levels are one of those health aspects that we can be guilty of vastly underestimating. Slumps and peaks are seemingly so common that we almost accept them as ‘normal’ – trust me, they’re not! If there’s one thing that can significantly improve our lives and our mental state, plus make completing those to do lists a breeze, it’s achieving steady energy release from leaving the duvet to climbing back in.
That might seem like a tall order, but fear not, lovely Foodies, it can be done, and much more easily than you think. So what’s the secret sauce? Read on to see exactly how to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders:
- Eat complex carbs, not refined ones – our blood sugar is a direct reflection of what we have just eaten, and what our stomach is digesting, breaking down component macronutrients into sugars that are burned for energy. When we eat food that is broken down more slowly, blood sugar levels stay even for longer. Refined carbs will send sugar rushing into your bloodstream, spiking then crashing very quickly, leaving you shaky and hungry. Spiked blood sugar will also mean that your body needs to send insulin rushing in equally quickly, converting the excess sugar into fat or glycogen, so refined carbs = weight gain, and eventually risks diabetes.
- Balance your meals – this means making sure that you don’t just eat carbs, whether complex or not. Toast and jam is carbs. Fruit is carbs. To balance sugar release and energy levels, each meal or snack should have either protein or healthy fat, or both. Main meals in particular should be a mix of all three elements. Snacks might just have fruit balanced with some nuts and seeds, for instance.
- Eat protein and healthy fat – protein and healthy fat both ensure that sugar is released slowly into the blood stream. Main meals need to have a significant amount of protein to prevent the sleepy feeling sneaking up on you after lunch, to keep you full until lunchtime, and to keep the snack monster at bay in the evening. Make your evening meal a chicken dish like the recipe below, paired with a small amount of brown rice or noodles, and a plate filled with veg, and dressed with olive oil. This will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Eggs make the best breakfast.
- Eat regularly – consistent energy is predicated on balanced meals, without long gaps where blood sugar can fall and tempt us to unhealthy choices. You might not want to snack in the morning, but a snack in the afternoon is useful for fending off pre-dinner nibbles!
Give these tips a try, and see how your energy changes. Let me know, I’d love to hear! In the meantime, enjoy this delicious and easy chicken dish.
Simple Parmesan Chicken
2 large chicken breasts
2 tsp chopped garlic
approx 50 mls/1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
75g/3/4 cup approx panko breadcrumbs
50g/1/2 cup approx fresh grated parmesan cheese
black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dredge each chicken breast in extra virgin olive oil. Make thin slices into the top of each chicken breast and stuff with garlic. Mix panko and parmesan together in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken breast into the panko/parmesan mixture then place them into a baking dish (use baking paper if it’s non-stick or grease it if it’s a glass or ceramic baking dish). Top with a sprinkle of black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes then check; cook in additional 5 minute increments until juices run clear.