When we eat healthy, high-energy meals that are rich in protein and vitamins, our bodies function better, we feel fuller for longer and our energy levels remain consistently high, as opposed to the short energy spikes fast food and energy drinks give us. The following meals can be prepared in advanced and enjoyed during a lunch break at work or quietly in the comfort of your own home.
Fruit has a natural energy boosting capability that will help keep you on track during the day. All fruit contains natural sugar to help boost your mood and your energy levels, while the vitamin C and fibre found in many of the fruits you eat helps you keep your mental clarity throughout the day. Strawberries and oranges are popular options, while grapes, cherries and melons will provide some energy as well. Frozen fruits can also be used to make excellent smoothies and are a great way to get a burst of energy in the morning, when you need it the most.
For a mid-morning meal, you could try fresh bananas and apples, which is packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibre. Fresh bananas and apples contain vitamins, minerals, and good carbs, which can give you quick energy. You can actually choose any fruit you like — bananas, apples, and oranges are easy to have on hand since they don’t need refrigeration. Berries, while not as portable, are also a great option, and are considered lower sugar fruits.
Chicken is not only a very good source of protein, but it is also a very good source of vitamins and minerals. The vitamins and minerals found in it are very useful in numerous activities in our body. For example, B vitamins are useful in preventing cataracts and skin disorders, boosting immunity, eliminating weakness, regulating digestion, and improving the nervous system, as well as preventing migraine, heart disorders, grey hair, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Being heavy in protein, chicken can sustain a person for long periods of time. The long-lasting energy can help with otherwise exhausting activities and keep the mind focused, since our brains need protein to function well. For a healthy lunch or dinner, simply bake some skinless chicken fillets in the oven. Pack in a portable container and add some sauce or vegetables.
Protein may be important for building muscle and good for energy, but carbohydrates are still one of the most important foods when it comes to energy. It’s no surprise that athletes ‘carbo-load’ before an event, since carbohydrates, such as pasta, are packed to the brim with long-term energy. Furthermore, our bodies burn carbs as fuel. So the more fuel we have in our bodies, the longer we can go. We can also burn fat or protein, but we have to convert them into carbs first, which is more work for the body.
So what kind of carbs should you eat? Most of the time, whole-grain varieties are best. They have more fibre and, usually, less added sugar than their refined white counterparts. If you want a quick meal at work or at home, then try plain pasta with a tomato pasta sauce, for example.