As we creep towards the longer, darker days of Autumn and Winter, we are already preparing ourselves for the harsher weather. Although we are embracing Hygge once more - the idea of cosying up on the sofa, snuggling into chunky knitwear and hibernating on rainy, cold days - the colder weather can be tough on our bodies.
For starters, cold and flu season is now lurking just around the corner. And, for many of us, the shorter days will also mean we feel lower in energy, hitting ‘snooze’ on our alarms whenever we can, and skipping the gym in favour of TV box sets…
Yet, if you are fed up of feeling tired and grey, there are plenty of things you can do to re-energise yourself. Here at Sweetpea Pantry, we are huge fans of eating for energy, and fuelling our bodies with energy-boosting foods. Want to add more oomph to your day? Here are our favourite energising foods:
One of our go-to rocket fuels, bananas are fantastic for a quick burst of energy. They are a great source of carbs, as well as potassium and vitamin B6, which all work to boost energy. In fact, some studies have shown that bananas are just as efficient at improving performance in cyclists as energy drinks.
Why not try adding one to your morning smoothie, or snacking with a spoonful of peanut butter for a super boost mid-afternoon? We also like to mash banana up into our flapjack mix for the perfect, energising snack!
Delicious, whole grain oats are the perfect way to start your day (especially when topped with banana!) as they can give you long-lasting energy. This is because oats are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fibre which works to slow down how fast our tummies empty, and also slows the absorption of glucose into our blood stream. Oats are also packed with energy-boosting goodness, including B vitamins, manganese and iron. Our delicious Energy Ball mixes are ideal for a mid-afternoon energy boost, and contain oats as the main ingredient - yum!
3) Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great fix for anyone looking to wake up, pronto. They are rich in complex carbohydrates (the perfect energy-boosting macronutrient), which fuels the body with a steady flow of energy. As well as being delicious and versatile (you can even enjoy baked sweet potatoes topped with nut butter and berries for breakfast!), they also contain manganese and vitamin A.
Eggs are cheap, nutritious and make the perfect breakfast! Since they are full of protein, they help to give your body a sustained energy boost throughout the day. They also contain the amino acid leucine, which helps the body to stimulate the production of energy cells and breakdown fat for energy. Eggs are also a winner because they are packed with B-vitamins, which help enzymes to break down food to use for energy.
Humble water is essential if we want to feel at our best and most alert. Our bodies are mainly made up of water, so it stands to reason that we need to drink up to stay focused! Whenever we are dehydrated, our bodies can slow down certain functions, which leaves us feeling tired and drained. Aim to drink 2-3 litres of water each day. If you don’t like the taste of water, why not create your own infused blend? We love adding fresh berries with mint, or slices of citrus fruits with mint or basil.
6) Dark Chocolate
Next time you’re feeling the brain fog creep up on you, try to avoid the urge to hit the vending machine. Instead, why not enjoy a few squares of dark chocolate (aim for 85% or above cacao solids). Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which could increase blood flow in the body. It also contains magnesium, which can help to ease fatigue and exhaustion.
Yoghurt is delicious at any time of the day - but it shouldn’t simply be reserved for puddings or breakfasts! Since it contains simple carbs (think lactose and galactose), our bodies quickly get started on breaking yoghurt down into easy-to-use energy. Yoghurts such as Greek varieties are also packed with protein, which helps to slow down the release of carbs into blood sugars, as well as B vitamins which we use to create fuel. Avoid any with added sugar and try making your own pots with soaked chia seeds mixed with yoghurt and fruit.