When I started clean eating the first two weeks were pretty miz- I was hungry (hangry) all the time and just wanted my regular ole easy processed foods and snacks back! Plus I couldn't figure out how in the WORLD people found energy to exercise without eating energy bars and drinking Diet Coke.
The truth is, our bodies function best when they are getting all the nutrients they are supposed to get, which is a lot of stuff you don't get from microwave meals and Subway sandwiches. Sounds pretty basic, but this is kind of a hard one to plan for when you have lived (what you thought was super healthy) on bread, Diet Coke, zero calorie snacks and frozen entrees for 27 years. Here is my list of power foods - clean foods - that keep me going during day and with enough energy to exercise after work.
One thing to note: I really had to change my mindset when I started eating clean. To me fat, carbs and calories were the enemy- I was probably more scared of those 3 things than getting struck by lightning (my biggest fear which is a story for another day) or giant spiders. I did a lot of reading and found that there is a right way to do fats, carbs and calories, and now when I'm checking nutrition labels at the store it's to make sure I recognize all the ingredients and NOT to make sure it is low calorie/carb/fat.
High in protein, fiber, Vitamin E and magnesium (magnesium helps with blood sugar), these are tiny capsules of energy. Also I read a study that found people who eat almonds daily are more likely to lose weight than those who don't. Of course I can't find it anywhere to post but I promise I read it! Just be careful, these are easy to mindlessly snack on so I portion out about 10 for my snacks
How to incorporate: Overnight oats, breakfast bakes, salad topping, casserole topping, snack
2. Greek Yogurt
High protein, low carbs, low lactose (woo lactards!). What else do you need to know!
How to incorporate: My fav way to eat this is with honey and/or fruit. It works as a substitute for pretty much all things creamy.
We all used to watch Popeye immediately bulk up after eating his spinach, and while we won't see THAT extreme of results, we do experience decreased fatigue and more alertness due to the high iron levels. Iron deficiency is especially common in women so it's essential to get plenty of these puppies in the diet.
How to incorporate: Salads, green smoothies, sauteed sides
This is probably the most important factor in energy levels. Our blood is 80% water and helps the blood absorb nutrients and facilitate digestion. Dehydration = brain clouds (the worst), fatigue, and weakness. And it's free.
How to incorporate: I try to drink a cup of water each hour.
5. Carbs via Natural Sources
Carbs get a bad rap but they are where our bodies go for 40% of our energy. There's nothing wrong with getting carbs from natural sources like fruit, starchy veggies and sweet potatoes.
How to incorporate: Snack on fruits and veggies with hummus or fruit dip, smoothies, salads, honey
Eggs have the highest amount of protein of any other food and supply 30% of our daily protein needs. And they're cheap. And they're easy to cook. Liiiike what else do you need? The protein gives us energy, keeps us full longer, and improves brain functionality.
How to incorporate: Breakfast casseroles, hard boiled, scrambles
6. Healthy Fats
OK READ THIS BEFORE YOU CLICK AWAY- I know when I used to see the words "healthy fats" I was like "yeah nope bye!". However healthy fats are necessary for our bodies functionality- they are good for our hearts, have been found to prevent cancer, and help our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins (E, D, B, K). The fats we need to stay away from are yucky fats that come from unnatural sources. As with anything, moderation is our BFF, and if you are working on losing weight moderation of these is REALLY our BFF.
How to incorporate: Avocados, egg yolks, nuts, nut butters, fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), coconut oil, olive oil
One last way I have found more energy was cutting out Diet Coke. This was the hardest for me, but after reading Erin's article on benefits of cutting DC out, I had to do it. I'm not going to lie- the first 10 days were hell. I had killer headaches and would fall asleep on the bus every afternoon. But I've been DC free for a month now and don't even think about it anymore! Ever! No more 2:30 pm crashes and my sweets cravings have gone down.
Question: what foods do you eat to give you energy??
Linking up today at Humpday Blog Hop, WOW Linkup, Weigh In Wednesday