How To Eat For Energy
And The Theory Of Flipping Your Eating Habits To Help
Today’s post comes to you via The Elgin Avenue’s wonderful contributor Chelsea Becker.
I am so happy to welcome Chelsea again, and for her to share her take on something which I’ve been focusing on recently too – eating for energy.
The realisations which Chelsea shares reflect my exact same experience. I hope that her experience can help you to look at, and shape, your eating habits to help your energy levels also.
Over to Chelsea!
Love, Monica x
When And What To Eat To Give You Energy
When You Need It
(And Not When You Don’t)
As a kid you’d probably eat whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted and have all the energy in the world?
I even felt that way in college – staying up for study sessions (or parties) until 3 a.m. without it being an issue.
Then, somewhere around my late-20s, I started noticing major energy dips. I also noticed mood swings almost daily. Perhaps it was hormones or ‘my age’, whatever it was it was affecting my life and I began feeling ‘blah’ often.
I had energy at times of the day when I didn’t need it – namely right before bed – and felt depleted of energy when I did need it, like in the mornings or my afternoons at work.
To try and gain some clarity, I visited my doctor who – immediately – asked me about my diet.
Before then, I’d really only associated the word “diet” with restricting food or trying to lose weight. I didn’t think of it as the overall menu that I was feeding my body; this realization alone was helpful.
After I told my doctor a typical eating day, she noted that I wasn’t getting nearly enough vegetables, healthy grains, protein or iron in my diet. I added these food elements in and felt better. But still, I’d notice days when – even with eating well – I’d be exhausted by 2 p.m.
After doing a bit more research and talking to knowledgeable friends, I kept hearing tidbits about how the time at which you eat affects your energy and entire day.
I dug around more and started experimenting with matching my eating habits to a timeline, and found that flipping my eating habits made a huge difference.
Here’s my roundup of what’s worked for me, so that you too can aim to eat more for energy.
4 Tips For Being More Conscious Of What You Eat, And When You Eat It
1 – Eat More Earlier In The Day
We’ve all heard the quote: “Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper” and it’s really stuck with me.
When it comes down to it, food (healthy food that is) is energy.
It makes sense to fuel your body with as much energy as possible first thing in the morning, right?
Think of it like filling up your gas tank – you want enough gas to get you through the entire day, not just half-way to your destination.
I found it true that by eating ⅓ of my calories for breakfast, I was not only more alert, but I wasn’t as hungry as often throughout the day. A win-win!
“When it comes down to it, food gives you energy.
It’s like filling up your gas tank.
You want enough gas to get you through the entire day, not just half-way to your destination.”
2 – Stop With The ‘Grab ‘N Go’ Lunch
Don’t forget to have a nutritious and filling lunch. It’s easy in our fast-paced lives to get a ‘grab n’ go’ lunch. This may curb your hunger in the short run, but it can often leave you feeling depleted of energy in the afternoon.
Here are 19 Healthy Make Ahead Lunch Bowls to get you on the right track. Remember, you are still fuelling your body at this time of the day.
You want to feel energised for your afternoon at work, and whatever activity you may have following your office hours. Skipping lunch, or filling up on fast food, will only make you feel more tired throughout the day, and hungrier in the evening when you don’t ‘really’ need to eat a lot.
3 – Create Balance
The key to eating big in the morning (or whenever you need your energy) is to make that meal balanced. A plate full of donuts and potatoes (unfortunately!) isn’t the kind of big meal I’m talking about. Your meal should be made up of a healthy ration of foods that each have a job.
For example, I went from eating a smoothie for breakfast to now eating a smoothie (with greens, fruit, greek yogurt, chia seeds, and bee pollen) + a couple eggs, half an avocado, and half a piece of whole wheat toast – all for breakfast!
It sounds like a lot, and I’m definitely full by the time I’m done, but the meal is balanced. Spinach for iron, fruit for antioxidants and healthy sugar, carbs for energy, then healthy fats (avocado) and protein like eggs and yogurt to stabilize blood sugar – aka help prevent energy crashes.
Each piece of my plate gives my body something it needs to function at its best!
4 – Keep dinner light
Eating a light dinner makes sense. You want to give your body time to digest.
As you’re not using much energy as you sleep (like you do during your normal day to day), your food will simply ‘sit’ in your body. This can lead to weight gain, and leave you feeling sluggish in the morning.
In Episode 228 of The Smart Passive Income podcast, fitness entrepreneur Jeff McMahon shares his take on the perfect balanced dinner: fresh green vegetables and lean protein.
Often we think we need a huge dinner. In fact when we’ve eaten a balanced meal, like that suggested by McMahon, you feel full on delicious healthy food.
Plus, if you fulfil your body’s craving for more food and more energy early on, late-night cravings will subside.
Another great part about making your dinners smaller? It’s a direct correlation with better sleep and weight loss – something that sounds pretty good to me right before busy beach season in California!
What’s Your Take?
Have you experimented with the tricks I mentioned before? What are your keys to gaining energy via food each day? I’d love to hear!
Love, Chelsea x
P.S. If you’re a fan of routine and want an actual timeline, I found this article very helpful! Swap in similar foods that you love. It should never be about depriving yourself completely – and see if shifting your eating habits promotes your energy levels. I hope it does!
Follow Chelsea’s day to day adventures on Instagram here.