No energy? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with energy dips during the day. Personally, I used to struggle with a mid-day slump. I used caffeine to try to get through it but honestly there’s only so much caffeine a person should consume, especially in the afternoon. If you find that you are completely drained of energy all day long or that you struggle with a mid-day slump, there are likely some imbalanced hormones at play here. The following five nutrition changes will help you get your energy back.
1. Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar when you’re tired.
Yes, that’s exactly what you’re craving, but it’s exactly what you don’t need. They will give you a temporary quick fix in energy, but at the expense of your overall well-being. When blood sugar levels spike and dip, it causes a cascade of other hormone imbalances.
So what do you do when you’re exhausted and want to eat something, anything for a quick pick me up?
Eat something that has a good amount of fat and protein. Cheese is a perfect snack. Hard boiled eggs are good too, as are nuts and seeds or even jerky – just make sure there are no added sugars. Replace your sugar snacks with high-protein high-fat snacks and you’ll improve your energy and your hormones.
2. Eat Enough Food.
One of the most common, yet rarely identified, causes of poor sleep is chronic calorie restriction. That puts us into a stressful state dripping with cortisol, the enemy of good sleep. Make sure you’re eating enough. Strive to eat every 3-4 hours.
If you’re doing intermittent fasting, that’s fine as long as you’re eating enough during your feeding window and that you’re consuming bone broth to keep electrolytes balanced. For those not doing keto or IF (that is, most of us), eating every three to four hours, and eating whole foods not processed, will help your energy levels stay balanced.
3. Have Your Caffeine (If You Do Caffeine) In the Morning.
Caffeine has a half-life of up to six hours, so having a coffee after lunch could disrupt your sleep. That being said, it’s okay to have caffeine in the morning and to pay close attention to your energy levels. If giving up your afternoon coffee isn’t an option, make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar. Added fat in the form of cream is fine, just no sugar.
4. Eat Protein at Breakfast.
Start your day with protein. Meat is a good source of tryptophan, which has been shown to improve sleep quality. Eating breakfast in general “activates” your circadian rhythm, which can improve your ability to fall asleep. Stick with clean meats and proteins whenever possible. And consider making a batch of ready-to-eat protein on the weekend so you don’t have to cook a sausage in the morning – it’s already made.
If you really have no time to make breakfast in the morning, consider prepping smoothie packets on the weekend. For example, you might put a cup of strawberries and a cup of sliced banana in a freezer bag. Dump the pre-chopped fruit into the blender, along with milk or yogurt and a scoop of protein, blend and go.
Or try this breakfast muffin recipe. You can make them on the weekend and grab one on your way out the door. They’re good hot or cold (http://paleomg.com/breakfast-on-the-go-sausage-egg-cups/)
5. Take 21 days off.
Try eliminating processed grains and added sugars completely for 21 days. Elimination of sugars and processed grains will help to balance blood sugar and get your hormones on track. In fact, if there is one thing on this list of 5 that you choose, this one may be the most challenging, but it will likely be the one that has the biggest payoff.