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When your summer overflows with activities for the kids, projects at work, more social occasions and chores around the house, it’s time to look at what’s on your plate — literally. Adding foods for more energy to your plate may give you the boost you need to not only make it through the summer but enjoy every minute of it!
Eating a balanced diet of unrefined carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils may keep your energy levels high, according to the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing.
It can also be helpful to eat small, frequent meals rather than three large meals each day or overfilling your plate at dinner time. Digestion can be exhausting!
Ditto for alcohol consumption. Save that glass of wine or bottle of beer for after dinner, when you’re starting to wind down for the evening and want to feel sleepy.
Harvard also notes that various foods convert to energy at different rates, so focusing on options that give you a slow, gradual release of energy (rather than a spike and crash) may help you get through your days with fewer yawns.
Healthline writer Arlene Semeco, MS, RD suggests adding these foods to your snack and meal planning if you need more energy.
Bananas: This convenient, low-cost fruit has a natural balance of carbohydrates, potassium, and B6 vitamins may help you feel more energized. Try using bananas in a smoothie recipe, piling slices on your morning waffles or enjoying chunks dipped in protein-packed sunflower seed butter.
Seeds: Often forgotten, these little powerhouses are what fuel plants to grow. Seeds are packed with energy boosters like omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds mixed with almonds, cashews or walnuts (also energy boosting foods!) tuck into a purse easily. Or, try adding milled chia or flax seeds to your next batch of homemade muffins or bread.
Strawberries: Kids and adult alike can’t pass up summer-ripened berries. Try blending fresh strawberries with ice-cold a2 Milk® for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up drink. Strawberries also add a pop of color to fresh fruit salads and make the perfect finger food for little ones.
Fatty fish: Naturally occurring B vitamins and fatty acids. Adding chunks of tuna to your salad may help you beat the midday slump. Or, swap out burgers for salmon filets when firing up the backyard grill. Lightly battered fish also works great in homemade tacos or as a sandwich filling.
Beans: Since they digest slowly, beans release energy slowly too, which may sustain you for longer. Go beyond burritos and chili and get a little creative with cooked beans. Toss them in your cold pasta or lettuce salads, mash them into a hummus-style dip for veggies or mix them with diced veggies and dry oats to make vegetarian bean burger patties.
Popcorn: Grab the air popper and make up a big batch of plain popcorn to have on hand for a portable snack any time of day. It’s full of fiber and carbohydrates, which may help you feel fuller and promotes a steady release of energy. Want some flavor? Drizzle a small amount of melted coconut oil over the popped kernels, then dust with ground cinnamon for a sweet treat. Craving savory foods? Use powdered garlic or cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon.
As you prepare for the next grocery run, don’t forget to stock up on plenty of cool, creamy a2 Milk®, so you’re always ready to whip up a refreshing milkshake or fruit-flavored milk for an energy-boosting, protein-filled afternoon snack. Cheers!