We’ve all been there – it’s only just gone midday and your eyes are getting heavy. It might feel like reaching for sweets and sugary snacks will make you feel better but it will actually do the opposite.
‘The problem with a quick fix is that it spikes your blood glucose levels but after the effects wear off your blood glucose levels come crashing down and the feelings of fatigue are back,’ says nutritionist Holly Sorce. ‘If you then reach for another quick fix you become locked into a rollercoaster of energy highs and lows that is difficult to break.’
So, step away from the extra-strong coffee and donuts and say hello to your new best food friends that will boost your energy and get you through the day.
Rich in potassium bananas will keep your blood sugar levels stable, which means you won’t have any sudden energy crashes. They make the perfect snack to beat those pesky afternoon slumps as they’re packed with natural sugars sucrose, fructose and glucose to give you instant and sustainable energy.
Include a serving of wholegrains with each meal to release energy slowly throughout the day and keep you feeling energised. We’re talking wholemeal pasta, bread and rice, as well as super grains like quinoa, which will all help you to reach super-mum energy levels.
Kidney, black beans, green, baked and even chickpeas are a fantastic source of energy that will last for hours. They’re also a great source of protein and fibre, so will keep you feeling fuller for longer – leaving you less likely to raid the sweet drawer for a sugary snack.
How do you like your eggs in the morning? Whether it’s scrambled, boiled or fried they’re high in iron and protein, which will give you sustainable energy throughout the day.
Choose a bar with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids; it’s an excellent source of iron and magnesium – during pregnancy you need even more iron because you have more blood in your body than normal and while red meat is the best source of iron, a little helping hand from dark chocolate is never a bad thing.
Still got some in the cupboard from your pregnancy nausea days? A warming cup of ginger tea in the afternoon will not only give you an energy boost but it’s also full of antioxidants and nutrients too.
Sipping two litres of water slowly throughout the day will keep you and your cells hydrated. This will make you feel brighter, and after a few days of regular water intake you should notice yourself feeling more refreshed in the mornings.
If you’ve got the three-o-clock-slump, try munching on a handful of unsalted nuts (walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts are good choices). Packed with essential fats, fibre and protein, they’re a perfect snack for a burst of energy.
All hail the curly kale! This green vegetable is packed with vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, lutien (an antioxidant) and folate (folic acid). What’s more, it’s very low in calories too.
Dubbed ‘The Mother Of All Grains’, due to its nutritional benefits, this Peruvian grain contains more protein than any other grain and contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also high in fibre, iron, lysine (essential for tissue growth and repair), magnesium and vitamin B2, which improves energy metabolism.
Rich in Omega 3 fats, salmon is also a great source of minerals, including selenium and iron, as well as vitamins B6 and B12, which help your body release energy.
Derived from the seeds of a South American tree, guarana is a popular natural energy booster, thanks to its high concentration of caffeine. Sipping a cup of guarana tea is a popular way to reap its health benefits.
Not only a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibre, lentils also increase your energy levels by replenishing your iron stores and stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Get making that Dahl!
Swap your pick-me-up chocolate for a handful of dried apricots. They boast vitamins A and C, as well as natural sugars to help stabilise your energy levels.
Toast some protein-rich pumpkin seeds for a nutritious snack, or sprinkle over a salad for a crunchy texture that helps top up your energy levels for the afternoon.
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