Eating properly is essential to having a healthy lifestyle, and eating food with a good nutritional value, which also sustains your energy throughout the day, is one of the best ways to do this. All of these ingredients are also perfect breakfast foods – to start your day right – or can make a great snack to see you through the afternoon.
Foods that keep your energy levels steady throughout the day are often rich in fibre or complex carbohydrates, both of which release energy slowly into the bloodstream. Sugary foods and processed carbohydrates cause a spike in energy levels, which consequently sees a sudden crash in energy levels shortly afterwards. The glycaemic index is a good guide to choosing foods that may help maintain your energy, however this shouldn’t be used as a definitive diet guide.
Wholegrains are a great way to sustain your energy throughout the day. Processed carbohydrates, such as white flour, offer little in the way of nutrition – try opting for wholegrain bread over white bread as an easy switch on your next shopping trip. There is evidence to suggest that wholegrains are also beneficial to the resting metabolic rate, with one study concluding that those who ate a wholegrain diet burned an average of 48 calories more than those who ate refined grains.
Quinoa is one of the best seeds that you can have, thanks to its low glycaemic index. It also has a complete amino acid profile, making it a great food to have to boost your protein intake for the day. It’s a pseudo-cereal, meaning it’s a seed that is eaten in the same way as a grain and is available in three colours: red, white and black.
Lentils are one of the most inexpensive sources of protein available, and they are a great source of energy, too. Lentils have a lot of soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates, making them an ideal choice for those looking to incorporate a slow-burning food into their lunch or dinner. In fact, one portion of lentils contains 25 per cent of an adult’s daily recommended fibre intake, and counts as one of your five-a-day.
Not only are bananas a handy fruit to keep in your bag, they are also a superb source of energy. Known for being a rich source of potassium and vitamin B6, they also contain carbohydrates which will help to sustain your energy throughout the day. Bananas make a good pre-workout snack too, so if you’re dashing to the gym after work, make sure you’ve got one to hand, for a quick energy boost.
5. Goji Berries
Not only do goji berries contain antioxidants, they’re also a source of fibre and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Goji berries have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries because of their impressive health benefits. You could add them to your favourite yoghurt, flapjacks or smoothies, for a good way to incorporate them into your regular diet; otherwise you can eat them raw.