Home / Diets / Eating for Energy

Eating for Energy

Things move a lot faster these days than they used to. Competition is high for jobs, social standing, etc. It’s survival of the fittest, and the fittest are those who can keep up their energy for the entire day. Keys to maintaining your energy level are: Getting a good night’s sleep, having a positive attitude, and most importantly, eating right.

Many folks can improve their stamina without changing what they eat, rather, when they eat, and how much. Gone are the times when three squares a day was all a body needed to get through. Worse, gone is that attitude that there are in fact as many as three meals in a day. This kind of thinking can lead to lags in physical and mental energy. Consider the quantity of good in your stomach at any given time if you are only eating lunch and dinner. It fluctuates heavily. Now consider that fluctuation when you are instead eating several smaller meals a day. Consistency is key. I find that six meals a day is optimum. Start with a healthy, and average sized breakfast. A bowl of cereal, two pieces of toast, or equivalent should be considered for your first meal. An hour or two later, try eating a small snack, perhaps an apple or a granola bar. It is important not to eat too much at lunch, as overloading will divert some of your body energy to digestion. Your lunch should be no larger than a sandwich and maybe a small snack, side-dish, or desert. Two hours after lunch should be another small snack. Dinner can be whatever you want it to be, though you’ll find you don’t want to eat TOO much. Lastly, for my own satisfaction, I like to have another much smaller dinner which can be consumed as long as it is more than an hour before bed time. This last meal should be very light. I find a salad is always satisfying and appropriate.

Once you’ve got your when’s down, you will want to look at your what’s. The expression, “You are what you eat” is more apt than you might think. If you eat fast food and sweets all day, expect to have short bursts of energy, and nothing else for the rest of your day. As a general rule of thumb, the healthier you eat, the better you will feel. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great. You might not love fruits and vegetables much, but if you try a bunch of different things, you will find something you like. A couple of favorites are apples slices with a dusting of cinnamon sugar, and celery or banana slices with peanut butter. After you’ve taken care of that food group, move on to the grain group. Modern diet crazes might encourage you to avoid carbohydrates. I encourage you to disregard those crazes. Carbohydrates are to your body what gasoline is to your car. Try to avoid simple carbohydrates (mainly sugars) and focus on the complex. Breads, especially whole grain, should be consumed at least every other meal. As far as drinks are concerned, try to drink water as much as possible. A low-sugar, but flavored drink can accompany a meal once or twice a day, but try not to drink any more than that. Coffee and energy drinks should be considered last ditch efforts. You do not want to rely on these, or have a post-energy crash at an inopportune time.

It might take a week or two of trying to change your eating habits before you notice results. However, once you become comfortable with them, you will find yourself stronger throughout the day, and happier because of it.