Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wake Me Up

I had a little bit of a health epiphany today. I was at tutoring this afternoon and literally fighting to keep my eyes open while playing Word Uno (yes, I like to trick children into reading). I was racking my brain (silently) trying to figure out why I was so tired. Did I sleep last night? Did I have trouble sleeping two nights ago? (it always takes me a bit to recover) I haven't been sleeping amazingly this week but 100 times better than last week so what gives?

Suddenly it hit me. What have I eaten today? I had a ton of work to do this morning so I bought a plain bagel with cream cheese on the way to work. I had some carrots for a snack. Then, we had a Teacher Appreciation Lunch. I am pretty sure these are not a nutritional powerhouse for anyone, but for someone with lots of food restrictions like me it's even more laughable. I legit ate pita chips, hummus and crackers for lunch...oh and then bites of a brownie, blondie, delicious chocolate moose and this peanut butter fudge. Yeah, clearly I wasn't that worried about food restrictions today. Apparently my stomach survived the slip up, but my energy level now is pretty much nonexistent. And I'm surprised, why?

It doesn't take a genius to know that my foods today were NOT energy powerhouses. Oops. But what foods WILL give us that lasting energy we need to get through our jam packed days? Some of my favorites...


Oatmeal is an awesome source of soluble fiber, and unlike the simple carbohydrates I was eating all day (oops), it provides a slow release of energy that will keep you from crashing, like I did at tutoring today.


Bananas are known for their great supply of potassium and other vitamins. The vitamins and carbs will give you a quick burst of energy :) I ate a banana before my yoga class tonight and either it was the banana or the yoga that woke me up, maybe both?


This combination of fiber and protein will keep you full for a long time AND give you the energy you need. Yogurt is a great pre-work out snack as well.


I always like to plug one of my favorite fishes (and yes, I would like it even if it wasn't pink). Salmon has protein, omega 3s and vitamin B, all important to maintaining high energy throughout the day.


In case you are a vegetarian, or you are not and just love beans like I do- beans are a great source of protein, fiber and vitamins. Plus, beans have iron, and nothing zaps your energy like being low on iron! I love beans in hummus, on my pizza, and in rice and veggie bowls.


High in vitamin E and magnesium, the almond is the most nutrient rich nut. They make great snacks or a perfect spread to your breakfast or lunch in almond butter. Yum.

For some other foods that will give you tons of energy, see the following articles:

10 Foods That Give You Energy

11 Energy Boosting Snacks

New Eating Habits For More Energy

What is your favorite food for energy? Do you find yourself dragging when your nutrient intake is slacking?


  1. I have the first three foods on our list every morning! I definitely feel sluggish and not all together when I eat energy-sapping foods rather than energy-giving foods. Thanks for the great list of foods! :)

  2. This is a fantastic post. While traveling around Oz and NZ, my energy was super-low and I spent a lot of time in a funk. What was I eating? Not nearly enough calories, a lot of bread with little protein or iron, and generally stop being nearly as healthy as at home. Now that I'm back to a normal diet--including tons of oats and fruit--I'm a happy camper.

  3. It makes me happy that 3 out of the 6 foods you named are foods I consume daily : ) And sometimes (when I'm lucky) 4 out of 6! I need to get on the whole Almond wagon..

  4. Does coffee count :)

    My favorite energy foods are fresh fruit like apples and my morning oatmeal.

  5. Its amazing the effect food can have on energy! If I eat carbs and no protein, I get super sluggish. All of the foods, with the exception of almonds (I don't like nuts), I eat almost every day. That makes me feel good :)

  6. I always feel better when I'm eating better. I have more energy to workout and get everything else done that I need to get done.

  7. Great point to bring up and remember!

  8. I'm always amazed at how much what I eat affects how I feel (even though I know this stuff and I shouldn't be!)

  9. I definitely notice a drop in my energy levels (and how I feel in general) when I'm eating poorly. Here's to better eating today!

  10. I totally notice a drop in my energy levels when I either haven't had enough food for the day or have eaten poorly.

  11. It is amazing how much what we eat really impacts our energy level. I can sleep for 8 hours, eat like crap and be exhausted.

    Like you yesterday, I ate a few too many cookies and all I wanted to do when I got home from work was crash on the couch. Today, no cookies and its almost 2 pm - no thoughts of my couch (although I would enjoy being at home).

  12. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread or english muffin with banana! Mmmm!

  13. Oh, thank you so much for this! I find myself becoming so lethargic and sleepy throughout the day that I know I'm not fueling myself in the right way. I really need to work on getting better filling foods into my diet.

  14. nice! love those I already had a banana, oatmeal and almonds! SCORE

    snack for energy?! homeamde energy/protein bar...banana and PB, greek yogurt with some kashi and nuts!!

  15. Isn't it crazy how food has an effect on our mood, our physical appearance, AND our sleep/sleepiness?? It really does. Sweets always get me high, than make me crash. This is why I only eat sweets at night (that may sound strange to some people, but it really helps!). Way to be a good detective and figure it out!

  16. I always have almonds in my desk drawer. They are so satisfying and filling!

  17. Kelly,

    My problem is that I resort to stress eating. With the school year drawing to an end and so many deadlines approaching, I find myself stuffing my face with junk food. Talk about getting sleepy later....yikes!

  18. My energy foods are eggs, oatmeal, and apples with peanut butter. Those seem to keep me going and going like the energizer bunny!