If you find yourself dragging during the day, do you look to an energy drink to pick you back up again? Next time, try pumping up your energy with real food, which is packed with nature’s secret stash of natural revitalizers such as complex carbs, protein, and fiber. Stock up on these 6 superfoods and watch your energy rebound:
1) Melons such as cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon aren’t just bursting with energizing vitamins and minerals. With 90 percent of their weight coming from water, they fight fatigue by keeping you hydrated.
2) Greek yogurt with some berries give you the protein and carbohydrate boost you need.
3) Polenta made from cornmeal, this Northern Italian staple is loaded with complex carbs. Unlike simple carbohydrates from highly-processed grains, complex carbs are broken down slowly so they keep your blood sugar on an even keel, providing a sustained energy release that lasts for hours. Plus, polenta couldn’t be easier to make with quick-cooking varieties ready in as little as 10 minutes. Simply stir it into boiling water, broth, or milk and serve. For a comforting whole grain start to your day, fold in dried tart cherries or chopped dried apricots. Or, prepare as a quick-fix dinner topped with marinara sauce instead of your usual pasta.
4) Farmer’s cheese presses cheese curds that have been separated from the liquid, whey, until it is almost dry giving it a texture similar to but slightly drier than ricotta. It can be made from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows. Two tablespoons deliver 4 grams of high-quality protein for only 40 calories and 2 1/2 grams of fat. Chevre, made from goat’s milk, and Mexican queso blanco are two examples of farmer’s cheese.
5) Add some walnuts and cherries to a fresh salad. Both contain melatonin, which will help you sleep better at night.
6) Edamame is one of the best choices of all. Not only is it perfectly balanced with slowly digested fiber, complex carbs, and healthy fat, it also contains 16 grams of protein per cup for less than 200 calories. Edamame is also rich in magnesium and B vitamins that our bodies need to convert carbohydrates into energy.
Be sure to snack every 2 to 3 hours to sustain your blood-sugar level and you will find that your energy level remains more stable throughout the day. Keep those snacks simple, grab-and-go, to make it easier for you to make the right choices.
Cooking Light Magazine