By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Part of Total Body Diet For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Have you ever felt tired, sluggish, or not as productive during the day? You need energy. If you’re human, you probably answered yes. The reason for your lack of energy may have had something to do with what you’ve eaten. With so many things to get done every day, how, what, and when you eat is a vital part of energizing you throughout the day, so you not only survive, but thrive!

All foods contain calories, which provide energy to your body, but not all foods are equal when it comes to how long that energy lasts. Foods that are high in added sugar and low in fiber, protein, and fat will give you a quick boost of energy, but then you’ll feel tired not too long afterward.

For sustained energy, try to eat meals that contain foods with a combination of carbohydrates — preferably ones with fiber, as well as lean protein and healthy fat. Fuel your body regularly — about every three to four hours — with either a snack or a meal to keep energy levels stable throughout the day.

Here are some examples of meals and snacks that can give you sustained energy:

  • One whole-wheat English muffin, 1 tablespoon nut butter, and 1/2 cup fresh berries

  • Six whole-grain crackers, 1 ounce lowfat cheddar cheese, and a handful of grapes

  • 1/2 cup cooked oats, 1 cup lowfat milk, 1 ounce pistachios, and 1/4 cup raisins

  • 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries, and 1 ounce hemp seeds