If frigid winter weather is keeping you from getting outside, you can still turn to nutritious, energizing foods to help keep your spirits up. Delicious, healthy, energy boosting foods can help you fight the desire to hide under the covers and hibernate during the winter.
Here are few of the foods that will not only provide energy, but also vitamins and other critically important nutrients. You won’t need to turn to junk foods or sodas packed with sugar – these foods will give you the energy boost you need to get through even the coldest, dreariest days.
Simple And Complex Carbohydrates – The Bad And The Good
When it comes to energy boosting foods, it’s important to understand the types of carbohydrates — and to watch your intake of them. Carbs are sources of dietary calories, some of which are good and others that aren’t so good for your health. The two main types of carbs are simple carbs and complex carbs. Here’s a brief look at each.
Simple carbohydrates – You’ll find these kinds of carbs in sugar. You might get a quick rush of energy after you eat a candy bar or a couple of cookies, but you’ll also get a quick crash. Carbs in these foods don’t have any vitamins, fiber, or other nutrients, and they’re not good for your waistline. There are some good sources of simple carbs, including fruit and milk, that do supply nutrients.1
Complex carbohydrates – The body doesn’t digest complex carbohydrates as fast as it digests simple carbs. Complex carbs don’t give you a sudden boost of energy, but they’re much healthier. Unrefined whole grain foods, such as unprocessed rice, are high in fiber. They’ll help you feel fuller, so you won’t be as inclined to overeat.2
Remember To Stay Hydrated
No matter what kinds of energy boosting foods you eat this winter, you’ll also want to stay hydrated. Proper hydration is incredibly important – it helps keep your body at a safe temperature and your joints lubricated, as well as helping to remove waste from the body.3
Water also helps keep energy levels where they need to be. Even mild dehydration could affect your energy and your mood.4
In terms of how much water you should drink each day, it differs between people. Talk to your doctor to get a good idea of how much water you should try to drink each day.
Have A Healthy Snack To Help Keep You Healthy And Energized
Whole foods are an excellent source of energy that contain important nutrients as well. Here are just a few examples.
Eggs are high in vitamin B12 – just two of them will deliver about 40 percent of your daily recommended intake. Not getting enough B12 may affect your energy levels and your mood. If you really want to boost your energy (and your mood), look for eggs that come from hens that eat feed with omega-3 fatty acids.5
Lean chicken is not only high in protein and low in fat, its nutrients may also help keep you energized. These are just a few of the nutrients you’ll find in a three-ounce serving.
- Vitamin B6 – You can get about one-third of your daily recommended vitamin B6 intake by eating a three-ounce serving of lean chicken. Chicken is also a good source of other B vitamins, and all of them are important when it comes to providing energy.
- Potassium – Three ounces of lean chicken will provide about 7 percent of your recommended amount of potassium. While potassium doesn’t provide energy, it does create certain substances the body needs in order to produce energy. It also helps support heart health.
- Magnesium – This essential nutrient helps the body generate energy. Just one three-ounce serving of chicken delivers nearly 10 percent of the magnesium you need each day.6
Apples are high in vitamin C, which support immune health.7
Protein sources are key to maintaining energy levels and healthy blood sugar levels. Beans are loaded with protein (and vitamin B). Eating protein may help keep you from “crashing and burning” due to a sudden energy loss.8
Remember to try and avoid the beans you’ll find in cans in your neighborhood grocery store aisle. Buy fresh, uncooked (and unprocessed) beans, and cook them at home instead.
Walnuts can give you a quick rush of energy (and a nutrition) boost. Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can also help support healthy cholesterol levels. Just a quarter cup of walnuts will provide an incredible 90 percent of your recommended omega-3 intake.9
Almonds pack a powerful nutritional punch. They’re high in protein, fiber, and many other kinds of nutrients. While almonds do have a high fat content, they’re mostly so-called “good fats” that can support cardiovascular health.10
Just a cup of broccoli will more than take care of your recommended daily intake of energy-boosting vitamin C – that’s simply incredible.11
There are many different kinds of seeds that are not only high in healthy fats and protein, but also other substances that help the body produce energy. These include magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc – which helps produce the hormones that affect your mood and your energy levels.12
Be Healthy And Be Smart
Eating energy boosting foods is great, but you’ll also want to stay physically active. There are plenty of safe, effective exercises you could easily do indoors. Find a great indoor walking track or hit an indoor pool to swim some laps.
Also, don’t change up your diet before first talking to your doctor.