Lately, my mornings have been a bit sluggish. They’re not as bright as they should be, I’m not as zippy as I want to be and, quite simply, I’m missing out on energy. After a few months of languid listlessness, I woke up to realize that the biggest change I could make towards a better morning was to change my fuel. Starting your day with the right kind of meal can flip your day right round, bringing that zip and pep to each morning. To sustain that energy through the day, here’s a list of delicious ingredients to pile your (and my) platter with.
Oatmeal: A hearty base to kick-start your day with, oats are a powerful mix of vitamins, minerals and fiber. High in protein and soluble fiber, oats rest in the stomach for a while keeping you full and satisfied while they release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream, creating a sustained release of long-lasting energy. Oatmeal also drives your brain into action and keeps you sharp for several hours. Look for less processed oats like whole rolled or steel cut without sugar and dress your bowl with some fresh berries, toasted nuts, seeds, coconut flakes or a sprinkling of cinnamon powder for extra zest.
Beetroot: Another great food for the brain, beets are high on fiber and loaded with essential nutrients like iron, folate, vitamin C and potassium. One of the greatest benefits of beetroot is its power to increase the flow of oxygen in the body, making you feel alert and energetic. If you have a workout scheduled into your morning, beets help you stay on your A-game with a targeted flow of oxygen to your muscles to enhance your performance. Juice your beets with some carrot and ginger – a superstar lineup that adds a little tang and builds immunity.
Chia Seeds: The punch of nutrients that chia seeds pack in makes them a force of energy. High in protein, fiber, omega-3 and antioxidants, chia seeds are prized as a source of stable and sustainable energy. Chia was an essential part of the Aztec and Mayan diet and means ‘strength’ in the ancient Mayan language. Stir a heaped spoon into your oatmeal, yogurt or smoothie or bake into bars or balls for a dollop of this time-tested power kick.
Dates: The perfect natural sweetener, dates provide a charge of all-round energy to the beginning of your day. Brimming with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, dates instantly replenish and revitalize the body. The natural sugars within, such as sucrose, glucose and fructose, provide a burst of energy that is best felt within thirty minutes of waking up. Dates also extend their business into boosting the nervous system, jolting the brain into alertness. Pop a few into your shake or smoothie for sweetness or munch on a few by themselves – they’re delicious either way.
Nuts: A spoonful of nuts each morning will have you skipping out the door. Almonds, walnuts and cashews are full of healthy fats, carbohydrates and fiber which promise a steady energy boost. Incidentally, they’re also are high in omega and antioxidants which raise energy levels and Vitamin B which combats fatigue, making them a winning combination. For an extra serving of protein, cream them into butter and spread onto wholegrain toast or a banana.
Watermelon: After a night of sleep, the body naturally wakes up dehydrated, making it essential to include high water-containing foods in our diet. Dehydration, one of the leading causes of fatigue, directs the body’s resources into maintaining its water balance instead of providing energy. The antidote to this is a few wedges of watermelon. Made up of 90% water and electrolytes, along with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, watermelons replenish your body and power it with a surge of energy.
Avocado: An energy bomb rich in fiber, healthy fats and protein, avocados contain the winning formula for sustained energy. They pack in more fiber and proteins (avocados contain all 18 essential amino acids!) than other fruits as well as high levels of omega that energize the brain. Sliced or mashed, avocados make a scrumptious topping on toast or, for the adventurous, add a velvety texture to smoothies.
Food equals energy and eating the right balance can lift your spirit and upgrade your morning from meh to magic. Keep your breakfast simple and satisfying: all the good stuff in it can only lead to, well, good stuff.