Improve energy levels through breakfast and good nutrition
Food is our fuel. It fuels our brains, nourishes our cells and energises our muscles. But both the type of fuel we consume, and timing in which we consume it, affect our energy levels. Here are some tips to start the day right and keep your energy levels up throughout the day!
Our bodies require a constant supply of energy to function at their peak. If we wait too long to eat in the morning, or if we skip meals mid-day, energy levels can dwindle, our ability to focus and concentrate decline, and our motivation to exercise can be lost.
One of the best ways to ensure you start your day with high energy levels is to eat breakfast within the first 30-60 minutes after waking up. If you find that you are not hungry for breakfast, think back to what you ate before bed. Often eating late at night can lead to loss of appetite in the morning. Since you use minimal fuel during sleep, the bedtime snack may have been simply stored as fat for use later.
Type of fuel:
Carbohydrates are the most efficient fuel source for our bodies. Carbohydrate rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and wholegrains are good sources of energy, which once digested and absorbed can be delivered efficiently to our cells. Our bodies digest and absorb carbohydrates slowly or rapidly, depending on the type of carbohydrate. However, adding a source of protein such as meat, fish, poultry, legumes, eggs, nuts, dairy and protein powder to a meal, can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates contributing to a more sustained release of energy.1,2
Tips for nutritious meals & snacks:
- A good breakfast combination could include a slice of wholegrain toast topped with a slice of tomato, spinach leaves and a poached egg.
- For lunch, try brown rice bowl with teriyaki chicken and vegetables.
- For morning or afternoon snack ensure they contain both protein and carbohydrates; try berries and Greek yogurt or vegetable sticks and hummus.
- For dinner, try grilled salmon, roasted sweet potato and green salad.
There are many factors that may affect energy levels. Combining a nutritious diet along with adequate hydration, sleep, daily physical activity and managing stress levels can all contribute to healthy energy levels.
1 Wolever TM. Effect of macronutrients on the glycemic index. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;106(2):704-705.
2 Mixed meals and the effect of extra protein and fat on blood glucose response, available at: https://www.gisymbol.com/low-gi-explained/, accessed 10th March, 2021.