Are you getting that groggy Monday morning feeling all week long? While you can't just snap your fingers and change a busy schedule, get more sleep, or cut back on your day-to-day stress, you CAN make a few easy adjustments to help fight that sluggish feeling.
Here are five easy fixes to the most common energy-zapping habits.
Too Much Sugar at Breakfast
Starting your morning with a blast of sugar from sweet cereals, specialty coffee drinks, or fruity yogurts might give you a tasty sugar high in the moment, but give it a few hours and you'll be crashing hard. But finding an easy and convenient breakfast that will pick you up and keep you going can be a problem. Instead of sugar bombs, reach for the right balance of macronutrients from foods like piece of whole grain toast with a hard-boiled egg, plain Greek yogurt and a cup of berries or steel cut oats with nuts.
Nobody's going to fault you for reaching for a cup of coffee, but you might be doing your body an energizing favor if you chase it with a cup of that classic H2O. Most adults need at least 4 cups of water a day, although depending on your size, climate, and activity level, you might need quite a bit more. Regular water is the best way to hydrate, but other beverages, fruits, and vegetables will help you fight the dehydration fatigue too.
Lack of Movement
Skipping your workout because you're too tired? You might be getting yourself stuck in a vicious cycle. Regular physical activity not only strengthens your body and improves your endurance, but it recharges your batteries and helps your entire system run effectively. You don't need to commit to marathon sessions either; even just 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week can help give your energy a boost.
Not Enough Macronutrients, Like Protein
If you're hitting the salad bar as part of your lunch routine, by all means, keep on going with those healthy choices. But if you're feeling a little slumped afterward, you might want to check your meals for protein. Since it helps to sustain your blood sugar levels, protein can be a tremendous help for fueling you up. We usually think of meats when we think protein, but egg whites, fish, beans, and nuts will also help add a protein boost to your meals.
You wouldn't try to drive your car on an empty tank, but when you skip meals, that's what you're doing to your body. Worse, the meals people often skip are the most crucial: breakfast and lunch. You're depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to keep you going at your peak performance. And yes, this includes mental acuity and concentration. Missing meals can lead to munchies and excess hunger, resulting in poor food choices later on. So, keep yourself going by eating on a regular schedule every four to five hours with a healthy snack in between.
About the Author: LeeAnn Smith Weintraub, MPH, RD.
LeeAnn Weintraub is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian nutritionist offering nutrition counseling and consulting services to individuals, families and businesses. As an experienced speaker, writer, nutrition expert, and media consultant, LeeAnn translates current scientific evidence into practical lifestyle advice and educates and motivates clients of all ages to reach their health and fitness goals. LeeAnn has extensive experience in medical nutrition therapy and she is certified in child and adolescent weight management.