Reviewed by: Erica An, APD, BNutr&Diet
I think we all know how easy it is to excessively consume calories when we’re exhausted. You reach for the food or drink that gives you the biggest, fastest boost, but that invariably also blows your calorie bank. You feel a momentary surge of energy that temporarily lifts you out of exhaustion, but it’s often followed by even lower energy levels and a ‘guilt gully’, which is exhausting emotionally and physically. So how do we avoid the calorie blow out and a guilty conscious when we’re exhausted?
Always be prepared.
As a busy human in today’s world, we know that the demands on us are just that – demanding! Responding to demands burns fuel stores, which results in energy depletion. To make sure that our energy depletion doesn’t dip into exhaustion, we need a solid foundation of slow-release fuel spaced out evenly over the day. Having a healthy and complete breakfast gives you the energy to burn steadily, so you’re not exhausted by midday. Come lunchtime, you can refuel with another healthy slow-release option to cope with the ongoing energy demands in the afternoon. Then finish off with a healthy dinner that tops up your body with just enough oomph to deal with the remaining energy demands of your day.
Knowing that you need slow release energy meals throughout the day is one thing, having them directly at hand so you can actually choose them, is another. Make sure you’re forearmed with food that supports, not sabotages!
On that note…
Look for foods that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. They will take time for your body to break down and process, so the fuel that they give your body is slow-release, to keep you topped up. Try to avoid ready-made and high sugar, as well as avoiding artificial colours and preservatives, plus anything with ingredients that sound like a chemistry lesson!
Good breakfast options
Rolled oats with natural greek yogurt and some berries
Poached eggs on toast with spinach, mushrooms and tomato
Powerful lunch options
Nicoise salad with tuna, hard-boiled egg and steamed/cooled potato
A lean chicken and salad wholegrain wrap with avocado
Sensible dinner options
Asian greens stir fry with lean protein (tofu/beef/chicken) and brown rice
Baked miso salmon with sweet potato, broccoli, carrot and beans