Do find yourself feeling a little sluggish in the afternoon? Or chugging iced coffee to get through your day? The culprit behind your low energy levels may not be lack of sleep but a lack of the right kinds of food on your plate.
Food, after all, is your fuel. “What you eat has a big impact on how you feel,” says Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., a dietitian in New York City. Ever notice, for instance, how you’re starving (and sleepy) an hour after downing a doughnut, but you can go for hours after noshing eggs and whole wheat toast?
That’s because the latter has a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and fat, which is crucial for blood sugar management, a driving force behind your energy levels. “With this combination, your digestion is slower, which leads to more stable blood sugar and longer-lasting satiety and energy,” says Cording. The doughnut, meanwhile, causes your blood sugar to surge and plummet quickly, leaving you sluggish.
So how can you achieve the ideal balance of nutrients and pump up your energy? Try this simple one-week meal plan, developed by Cording. Each meal provides the three macronutrients essential for lasting energy, and delivers the Mindful Mix of 50 percent fruits and veggies, 25 percent wholesome carbohydrates, 25 percent lean protein, plus a small amount of healthy fat. The best part? It’s not only easy to follow, it’s delicious!
Eat for More Energy Meal Plan
Each meal in this plan delivers the essential macronutrients your body needs for lasting energy, along with a healthful Mindful Mix. While this plan offers a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack option for each of the seven days, feel free to mix and match your favorites, or enjoy any Mindful meal being served in your café.
1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
Couscous Marinara with Shrimp and Kale:
Grilled Chicken Sandwich:
Greek Yogurt with Berries and Nuts:
1 ounce cheese and ½ cup grapes
Chicken Stuffed Pita:
3 cups air-popped popcorn, shaken with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
London Broil with Peppers and Onions:
Avocado and Egg Toast:
Smoked Salmon Salad:
Yogurt with Cocoa and Raspberries:
½ cup edamame
Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli:
Minestrone Soup and Salad:
1 medium banana
Baked Chicken with Veggies and Beans:
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