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Six healthy habits to increase energy

Adventist Health Fitness, Recipes

Who couldn't use a little more energy each day? Whether you're tackling a work project or your own to-do list, keeping your energy up helps you accomplish more.

The foods you fill up with can either fuel you to the finish line or leave you running on fumes. So here's a smart strategy to help you stay energized and alert.

Six healthy habits to increase energy

These eating strategies may help you get more mileage from the foods that fuel your day:

  1. Don't skip meals. Do you bypass breakfast? Power right through lunch? Regular meals keep your blood sugar from sinking - helping you feel better and stay alert all day.
  2. Eat small, frequent meals. Instead of three large meals a day, try eating mini-meals every three to four hours for a steady energy stream.
  3. Embrace variety. A balanced plate helps you get the right nutrient combos to provide lasting energy. At most meals, aim to include whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean proteins, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and small amounts of healthy fats (like nuts, avocados and olive oil).
  4. Snack smart. Empty-calorie snacks might taste good when you have the munchies. But they don't have the nutrients to keep you going between meals. Look for snacks that pack protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates instead.
  5. Choose long-lasting carbs. Carbs from fruits, veggies and whole grains release their energy slowly. And their fiber fills you up, so you can focus on your day-not a growling stomach.
  6. Skip the sugar rush. Sweets cause blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, which may leave you feeling drained.

Nibble on these natural energy boosters

smoothiesFor an energy edge, try some of these nutritious suggestions:

Morning go-getters:

  • Top oatmeal and low-fat milk with peach slices and pecans.
  • Spread nut butter on a whole-grain toaster waffle topped with banana slices.
  • Wrap a whole-grain tortilla around low-sodium turkey, low-fat cream cheese and diced tomato.
  • Blend up a smoothie with melon, berries and milk.

Super snacks:

  • Make a trail mix from whole-grain cereal, dried apricots, unsalted cashews and sunflower seeds.
  • Roll up a PB&R (peanut butter and raisins on a whole-wheat tortilla).
  • Dip cucumber slices and baby carrots in plain, low-fat yogurt.
  • Grab an apple and low-fat string cheese and go!

Lunchtime lift-me-ups:

  • Top a whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, tomato sauce and veggies - and pop it in the oven.
  • Power up your spinach salad by adding snow peas, walnuts, hard-boiled egg and a light vinaigrette.
  • Sprinkle low-fat cheese and green onions over a hot bowl of black beans and brown rice.
  • Top a low-sodium turkey sandwich with apple slices, and serve low-fat cottage cheese on the side.

Splendid sippers: Sodas, coffees and energy drinks can cause energy spikes and crashes. Instead, revitalize with a glass of low-fat milk or refreshing water.

Discover more ideas for eating better: Check out these colorful changes to improve your diet.