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Eat for energy

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Eat for energy

If you are usually exhausted at the office, and turn to sugar or caffeine in a desperate attempt to boost your energy levels, you may need to change how you eat

Do your energy levels flag after lunch? Is it impossible to resist a sugary pick-me-up? Are you a self-confessed coffee addict, or is finding the energy to exercise after work a pipe dream? If your life is a daily battle against exhaustion, at work and home, you're not alone. Luckily, changing how you eat can help fight fatigue and give you the energy lift you crave.

Breakfast boost
Mornings tend to be manic, last-minute affairs that leave you little time or appetite for a healthy, energizing breakfast. But the old adage about it being the most important meal of the day is true, A proper breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day and can help you curb cravings later on. So if you want sustained energy throughout the day, this is not the meal to skip!


Ever noticed that those big eggy Sunday breakfasts easily keep you going until lunchtime or beyond, without the energy dip and snacking urge that follow weekday breakfasts of cereal and fat-free milk? That's because protein and fat curb appetite. Add fibrous vegetables to the mix and you'll feel satisfied and energized for even longer. Fiber slows the stomach and intestines, and swells, making you feel fuller for longer. Plus, veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals to help your body convert the food that you eat into energy. Reducing your morning carbs will help prevent post-meal fatigue and late-morning energy slumps that make you turn to the coffee machine, rummage through your work drawers for sweets or dig into the left-over cake from yesterday's meeting.

Sensible snacks
Refined carb-filled snacks like sweets, chocolates and chips can drain your vitality and leave you craving more. Ironically, these are the go-to snacks for dipping energy levels because they act as a pick-me-ups, providing your cells with instant energy. But this energy is short-lived. Once you start, you'll need a constant supply of these snacks to keep fatigue at bay. Not a very healthy or suitable action plan. Instead, snacks like nuts; biltong;veggie sticks dipped in cream cheese or avocado; or full-cream, unsweetened yogurt and fruit are much more likely to keep your energy levels stable.

It's a good idea to keep energizing snacks in easy-to-access places throughout the day. That way, whether you're in the office, rushing to a meeting or leaving the gym, you'll always have a healthy, vitality-packed snack on hand - meaning you'll be less likely to turn to energy draining options from vending machines or convenient stores. Put some nuts in your car's cubbyhole, biltong in your handbag, fruit and avocado in your desk drawers, and yogurt, boiled eggs, cream cheese and veggie sticks in your office fridge.

  • Brightly colored vegetables
  • Protein-rich foods (fish;chicken;eggs;meat;full-cream;cheese)
  • Healthy fats (olive oil;coconut oil/milk;avocado;nut butters)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes (beans;lentils)
  • Fruit in moderation (good snack options are dried prunes;raisins)
Energy sappers
  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Alcohol
  • Large meals
  • More than 2-3 cups of coffee or 4-6 cups of tea daily

Source: Health Intelligence