By Kelly Keltner
Are you mentally and physically feeling sluggish? Is it hard to get through the day without taking a 3 pm vending machine candy break? The culprit could be one of the popular foods below.
1. Conventional Yogurt
Yogurt has a reputation for being a weight loss friendly and a “health food”. However, 9 out of 10 grocery store yogurt brands contain artificial flavors and a ton of added sugar; both can leave you feeling tired.
Better option: Full fat plain Greek yogurt with all beneficial bacteria intact. Your gut health will get a boost and the extra protein will fuel you until your next meal. Top with almonds and fresh fruit like a few juicy strawberries or blueberries.
2. Specialty Coffee Drinks
Your daily drive thru habit might be causing you to crash before your day even gets started. A Grande Starbucks Caramel Macchiato will dump 32 oz of sugar into your bloodstream.
Better option: Save specialty coffee drinks for the occasional weekend brunches. Wake up with a small black coffee sweetened with a teaspoon of raw organic honey and a splash of whole milk. Try stirring in a teaspoon of coconut oil for a healthy fat boost to your day.
3. White Carbs
Refined carbohydrates may make your taste buds happy but your body and brain will suffer. The starch converts to sugar, causes a crash and brings on more cravings for nutrient deficient foods. Limit white pasta, white bread and sugary treats.
Better option: Sprouted whole grains and whole wheat baked goods will provide more fiber, helping to steady your blood sugar and stay energized.
4. Grab-n-Go Meals
Sure, convenience is great but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. Daily lunches out clog your body with food additives, fats and sugar that will leave you sluggish and nutrient void. In the long term, over consumption of processed foods can lead to obesity, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and a myriad of other serious health conditions.
Better option: Meal prep on Sundays for the week ahead, or even just make a bit extra at dinner the night before. Get yourself some divided lunch containers and fill it with lean protein, veggies and a whole grain such as brown rice.
5. Energy Drinks
Immediately after consuming energy drinks or shots, your body gets a quick boost of sugar and caffeine. But then your blood levels drop and you go right back to feeling more tired and even jittery.
Better option: Sip on green tea or hot water with lemon juice. If you crave that boost of energy, try grabbing a small green juice in the middle of the day from a cold pressed juicery. The vitamins from the juice will quickly absorb into your bloodstream, giving you a pickup without any negative effects and it will leave your body nourished.
6. Energy and Protein Bars
Touted as a healthy on-the-go snack for those into fitness, this segment of the food market has really taken off in the past few years. But beware: read the ingredient label and nutrition facts! The amount of sugar, fats, soy, and artificial additives in many brands may shock you. These so-called “energy” bars can leave you feeling stagnant and craving more.
Better option: Homemade granola bites sweetened with honey or dates or look for a brand with all natural and low glycemic ingredients.
Besides avoiding nutrient empty foods, be sure to get plenty of rest, exercise regularly and take time for yourself. You will be the best version of YOU when you take care of yourself.