Do you find yourself a little too reliant on that afternoon cup of coffee to help you power through the rest of your day? I’ve definitely been there. Not only is that third cup of coffee comforting and warm, it can oftentimes feel needed to keep the (creative) flow going.
What if I told you that the secret to more energy can be found on your plate? As a health coach, I am always encouraging my clients to get more whole, nutritious foods into their day to overcome that afternoon slump.
Getting back to the basics by eating clean, nutritious foods and aiming to get a variety of produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats into your day will not only improve your health, but your focus and clarity as well. What boss lady doesn’t want (need) more of that?
Here are five tips for cleaning up your plate:
Shop the perimeter of the store.
I know you’ve heard this one before, but it can’t hurt to be reminded. When shopping for groceries, it’s wise to stick to the perimeter of the store where you will find more natural, whole foods versus the aisles where most of the processed junk resides.
Eat the rainbow.
Plant foods contain phytonutrients, which are nutrients found in plants that act as antioxidants to protect against free radical damage. What does this mean in the practical sense? Phytonutrients work to decrease inflammation, improve vision and cholesterol levels, prevent cell damage and reduce blood pressure. When I started incorporating more plant-based foods in my diet I noticed my energy levels were through the roof!
Aim for balance.
Imagine your plate as a pie chart for a moment. Half of your plate should be made up of fruits and veggies, a quarter of the plate lean proteins, and the other quarter whole grains (my favorite is quinoa!). A few servings of healthy fats a day will also help take your energy levels up a notch.
Nix the added and artificial sugars.
When it comes to our energy levels, sugar is our worst enemy because it gives a false sense of a second wind (and then the dreaded crash and burn). Artificial sugars aren’t great either because, well, they are artificial! When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, I recommend sticking to natural sources of sugar such as raw honey, maple syrup (both in small quantities), dates, fresh fruit and sweet veggies.
Did you know that your body is made up of 60% water and your brain 80%? That’s enough reason right there to make sure you get your daily quota of water! I recommend following the 8×8 rule – 8 8oz glasses of water a day. Make it extra fun and flavorful by adding fresh/frozen fruit or herbs in your water bottle!