Foods That Drain & Foods That Energize! By Megan Roosevelt, RDN & Founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com Food is fuel! What we eat has a big impact on our energy levels throughout the day. It is important to get a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals to properly power and nourish our bodies. A diet rich in real, whole, plant-based foods is best because plant-based foods are nutrient dense. Below is a list of foods, nutrients and tips to consider for help managing your energy levels! Foods That Energize! Lemon Water: Adding lemon to water can also make water taste better and help increase water consumption. A common reason for fatigue is dehydration! Lemons are also detoxifying and full of immune boosting vitamin C. My favorite way to drink lemon water is slices of fresh lemon and ginger in hot water at the start or end of the day. Chia & Hemp Seeds: These seeds contain protein which (compared to carbohydrates) digests slowly, providing a steady release of energy to the body. Hemp and Chia seeds also contain healthy fats known as Omega 3 & Omega 6. Healthy fats support optimal brain function! Spinach: Many people, especially women, are deficient in iron. Fatigue, weakness and low energy are common symptoms of iron deficiency. Dark leafy greens such as spinach are packed with iron as well as magnesium and vitamin C. While non-heme iron, the type found in fruits and vegetables, is not as easily absorbed into the body, vitamin C can help with absorption, and spinach has both. Add some spinach to your morning smoothie, lunchtime wrap, or pasta sauce, soup or salad at dinner! Fresh Fruits: Fresh fruits contain natural sugars for a burst of energy, as well as fiber which digests slowly helping to manage energy levels. Try an apple or banana with a scoop of nut butter for a truly energizing and satisfying snack! Orgain Superfoods Powder: Another great way to boost your intake of energizing nutrients is to consume a quality, concentrated superfoods powder. Orgain’s Organic Superfoods all-in-one super nutrition powder packs 50 organic superfoods into every scoop. Mix with water or add to a smoothie and you are on your way to an energized day! Foods That Drain Energy Sugar: Sugar provides the body with a short-term burst of energy, followed by a crash. Sugar is hard to avoid because it can be in just about everything! The best way to reduce your sugar intake is to avoid processed sugars and add more fresh, whole foods into your diet such as fruits and vegetables. Processed White Flour: White flour that has been processed and is typically devoid of any nutritional value and has a similar effect on the body as sugar. A diet high in processed white flours and sugar can increase insulin and blood sugar levels, followed by a drop in insulin levels which can result in general fatigue and weakness. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy, however choose unprocessed options such as brown rice, quinoa, oats or starchy vegetables. These whole-grain options are great because they also contain fiber which digests slowly and can help balance energy and blood sugar levels. Soda & Caffeinated Drinks: Caffeine provides the body with false energy and similar to sugar and processed flours, will provide your body a quick burst of energy and then a crash. For coffee lovers, try to cut back to 1 - 2 cups per day and try adding a dollop of coconut cream as a natural creamer! Coconut cream contains healthy fats that can delay digestion and help to slow the release and effects of caffeine on the body. Matcha green tea is also a great choice because while it does provide the body with caffeine it also has a calming effect at the same time. In addition to increasing our intake of mostly real, whole foods to manage energy levels, lifestyle habits are also important. Sleep, exercise, fresh air and stress reduction are all important for a healthy, energized lifestyle!