Feeling Sluggish? Learn how you can you eat for energy…

Do you ever have those mornings where you feel tired, sloth-like, have a lack of motivation, and are crying for energy? (I thought this photo of the pup was a great way to demonstrate that feeling).  Trust. I think we have all been there. So how can we get out of that tired rut?

tired-pup

Diet plays such an important role in our activities of daily living (so does rest). If you are not eating well, choosing the wrong foods, and not getting enough sleep…. you are going to crash and you are going to stay in that rut until you kick those bad habits.

Here are a few tips to help boost you energy level, motivation, and maybe athletic performance.

  • Never skip a meal: listen to your body. Food is fuel. Ensure that you are eating well balanced meals throughout the day with a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of fuel make sure to choose nutrient dense complex carbs such as, quinoa, nut/seed crackers, large flake oats/steel cut oats, sweet potatoes,lentils/beans. These items will keep your blood sugar stable, leaving you satisfied longer.
  • Always stay hydrated! Many of us are not consuming enough fluids on a daily basis. Adults are required to consume a minimum of 2.7L of fluids per day. Remember, to replace fluids after a workout as well. If you way yourself before a workout and after a workout, the weight lost is the weight you have lost in sweat. REPLENISH!
  • Choose high iron foods: Iron is crucial for oxygen transport throughout the body to our muscles and tissues (aka we need it for ENERGY). Choose foods such as, spinach, kale, dried beans, peas, lentils, cream of wheat, oatmeal, and red meat.
  • Choose foods high in B vitamins: B vitamins (especially Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin) play an important role in helping with energy production in our bodies. Foods  to choose for these vitamins include: whole grains, dried beans, eggs, nuts & seeds, mushrooms, and soybeans.
  • Avoid highly processed foods: Avoiding fast food & junk food can help keep your blood sugars balanced and at a healthy equilibrium. These foods tend to be high in unhealthy fats and packed with refined sugars (that’s why they are so addictive). High fat foods tend to make us feel sluggish. High sugar foods cause a quick spike of energy (due to a fast rise in our blood glucose) followed by a quick drop. This effect makes us feel tired and hungry for more unhealthy treats!

The Sweet Potato vs. The White Potato

potatoes

Po-tay-toe po-tah-toe… right? ………………

Nope! There is definitely a difference amongst the  various potatoes in the potato family. So which type of potato do I choose to consume more of? Today it’s a face-off between the sweet potato and the white (russet potato).

The SWEET potato is my go to.

 So why?… what really is the difference? Here’s the Nutritional breakdown for you: 

The Sweet Potato (medium size) The White (Russet) Potato (medium size)
112 calories 170 calories
Fiber: ~4 g Fiber: ~2 g
Fat: 0 g Fat: 0g
Protein: 2 g Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrate: ~26 g  (Starch: ~16 g) Carbohydrate: ~38 g  (Starch: ~33 g)
Sugars: 5 g Sugars: 1 g
  • 10 times the amount of Vitamin A
  • Higher Vitamin C content
  • Higher carotenoid content (maintain a healthy vision)

So, as you can see. Both potatoes still a great source of natural healthy carbohydrates. However, if you are looking for the most nutritional benefit and nutrient value…. pick the sweet potato!

The sweet potato contains more fiber for less calories and carbohydrates. It’s a substantial source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenoids, and fiber. You will BEYOND exceed your daily need for Vitamin A with one sweet potato.  It may contain a tiny bit more sugar… but remember this is functional sugar…you need this for fuel. Your body will utilize this form of glucose as energy. Additionally, the sweet potato has a lower glycemic index than the russet potato. Therefore, it will have a less dramatic effect on your blood glucose levels and keep you satisfied for a longer period of time.

Sweet potatoes also have more fiber than white potatoes. Insoluble fibre (as I spoke about in my previous blog post) is found in the skin of the potatoes and soluble fibre is in the potatoe itself. You should eat both for the most nutritional benefit. Fibre is a positive contributor to heart health… fiber causes foods to be digested and absorbed much slower. Therefore, causing a much less drastic insulin response (in comparison to a refined low-fiber carbohydrate product.. like bread!). It will help to regulate cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose.

In the end, everything is great in moderation. Both types of potatoes are an unrefined, natural, and whole food source of carbohydrates, protein, and fibre. They will be used as immediate source of energy in our body (as a carbohydrate). However, if you want to vamp up the nutritional benefit… the sweet potato is definitely a fair winner. GO FOR COLOUR. When it comes to picking fruits and vegetables, it is always the best to pick the ones with lots of colour (Green, orange, red, etc.). The colourful variations will provide the most antioxidants and nutrient content to your diet.

Try my sweet potato fry recipe and get a carotenoid boost: Click HERE 

spiced sweet potato fries

Enjoy

xoxox B

 

Spicy Root Veg French Fries

Spicy Root Veg Fries

This is an AWESOME side to have with dinner. They also have a spicy bite to them 😉

Fry Ingredients (Serves 3-4 people as a side dish):
4 parsnips
1 small sweet potato
1 small white sweet potato
1/2 beet
2 large carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425F
2. Thoroughly wash and cut the vegetables in long strips (like french fries).
3. Put on a microwave safe plate and put in the microwave for 2 minutes to pre-cook.
4. On a cookie sheet, apply parchment paper and spread the vegetable fries evenly on the sheet.
5. Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the spices evenly over the fries.
6. Put in the oven for ~30-35 minutes. Rotate/mix at least twice while cooking.

Dip:
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp maple syrup

Mix all ingredients together. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

Dark Chocolate Quinoa Clusters

quinoaclusters2

What you will need:
1 cup dark chocolate (70%), melted
2.5 cups puffed quinoa cereal
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
1. Melt the dark chocolate and mix into bowl with puffed quinoa and cranberries
2. Ensure that all the quinoa and cranberries are coated- otherwise add more melted chocolate (Think like Rice Krispie Squares)
3. Use a spoon to make into clusters and put on a baking sheet
4. Store in the refrigerator – eat chilled

quinoaclusters

Dark chocolate plays a major role in heart health. Make sure you read the ingredient label and choose a dark chocolate with the first ingredient being a cocoa mass or cocoa solids… NOT SUGAR! Dark chocolate contains flavonols. Flavonols are antioxidants which can help improve your blood flow and circulation. Therefore, dark chocolate can lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease or other cardiovascular diseases.

Now … go enjoy your clusters 🙂