Pack these power foods into your diet for extra bounce
First of all – try to make a point to balance your meals between carbs, protein and fat. As a easy rule take 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% unsaturated fat. Vegetables, like salad are a great low healthy carbs and low in calories and if combined with protein, for example with salmon, tuna or chicken a fantastic complete meal or even as a small snack.
But there are many more options to keep your body full of energy, see below the list of some great snacks and energy food.
Oats are one of nature’s super foods. They’re low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) scale, which means they don’t cause a rapid sugar high and then a dip that makes you feel tired, plus healthy amounts of protein and fibre. Like other wholegrains they contain high levels of B vitamins, magnesium, selenium and iron – all important for energy production.
Nuts are high in energy – 50g/2oz of mixed nuts provides you with 300 calories of energy, and over half of that 50g is fat. Sounds like bad news? Hardly, because the fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind, and the combination of ‘good’ fats and
protein in nuts means they’re a low-GI, slow-burnfood. Grab a packet of unsalted nuts instead of a Danish pastry as a snack. They contain about the same amount of calories, but the nuts will keep going for longer.
3 Dried fruit
Dried fruit such as raisins and sultanas provide intense sweetness without the blood sugar spike-and-crash you get when you guzzle chocolate and sweets. Why? The secret’s in the fibre – it slows down the digestion of the fruit, keeping you full for longer.
4 Brown Basmati rice
Basmati rice is the variety of rice with the lowest Glycaemic Index, and brown rice is always lower-GI than white. So brown basmati is the lowest of the low, which is what you want for sustained energy. Brown rice is also a great source of B vitamins, which act as catalysts to spark off the reactions needed to release energy from your food.
5 Lean red meat
Lean red meat (and especially liver) is rich in the mineral iron. While iron doesn’t actually give you energy, if you don’t get enough, you’ll end up weak as a kitten. Your body needs iron in order
to make haemoglobin – the chemical found in red blood cells that ferries oxygen around your body. It you haven’t got enough haemoglobin, you’ll end up anaemic, with symptoms like tiredness, lethargy and a lack of energy.Liver and lean red meat are the richest sources, and they’re also the easiest for your body to use (high bioavailability, in nutritional lingo). But you can also get iron from vegetarian foods like beans and lentils, green vegetables and dried fruit. Wash them down with vitamin C-rich orange juice to help your body absorb as much of the iron as possible.
Marmite (yeast extract) is a rich source of the B vitamins that are needed to release energy from food. It’s also high in salt, though, so don’t overdo it. You can also get B vitamins from meat, fish, eggs, wholegrains, beans and lentils.
Fat is more calorie-dense than either carbs or protein, which makes it the most concentrated energy source. The flip side is that too much fat can make you pile on the flab, and eating the wrong kinds of fat (saturated and trans fats) furs up your arteries. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy, artery-smoothing unsaturated fats, giving you the best of both worlds – energy, plus less risk of a heart attack.
Bananas are power snacks for guys on the go. Pre-wrapped by Mother Nature and ready to unzip, they’re packed with natural sugars and starches, providing a mixture of instant and slow release energy. They’re also a great source of potassium, which helps keep your blood pressure in check.
9 Kidney beans
Like nuts, beans such as kidney beans contain that winning combination of protein and carbs that keeps you fuelled for longer. But pulses (beans and lentils) are higher in fibre, which slows down the release of energy even more, making beans a true ‘slow-burn’ fuel. Cook up some lean mince with a tin of kidney beans, a tin of tomatoes, some chopped onion and as much chilli as you dare, for a no-fuss chilli that’ll keep you going for hours. Serve it with brown rice for maximum energy boosting effect.
Unlike the 9 foods above, this isn’t great nutritional advice – but it works. Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. It revs you up, gives you a boost of energy, and makes you more alert … temporarily. A strong coffee could be just what you need before an important presentation. But be warned – the energy effect won’t last, and when it wears off you’ll probably feel tireder than ever. For the sustained, slow-release energy your body really wants, go for the other foods on this list.
If you join SlimNFitClub you will get a great natural and healthy energiser before every Session to help you to boost up your energy without the downside effect of coffee.
11 Wholemeal bread
Once again the secret’s in the fibre, but this time you can get it in sarnie form! Make sure you buy ‘wholemeal’, not ‘brown’ bread – brown bread can be white bread, dyed brown! But if you’re a white bread kind of guy you’re not alone, but there’s no excuse for resorting to soft, flabby white bread. Look out for one of the ‘added fibre’ white breads you can buy – you won’t know the difference, promise.
One of the most important meal is the meal immediately following a exercise. In SlimNFitClub you will be served a great natural Recovery Drink to replenish your nutrition and proteins. Check us out and attend one of our FREE trial Session to see how we can help you not only in your fitness level but also on your nutrition choices by teaching you how to do smarter nutrition choices during the whole day.
Words by Carina Norris, author of You Are What You Eat: the meal planner that will change your life.