With the longer nights and shorter days, more often than not our energy is lower than what it is during the sunnier months.
In part this is because we too are animals and not that we're meant to hibernate in the winter like the bears, but we are meant to take things a little more easy. That's not always possible in the type of society we live in. We may want to sleep longer and do less during the day but our schedules don't always allow for that so here are a few ways you can eat to keep your energy up.
What you eat is absolutely essential to higher levels of energy. Ever skipped a meal or forgotten to eat? You will feel your energy levels deplete and productivity generally goes along with it. Believe it or not coffee and sugar are not the best ways to go about sustaining your energy levels. Both sugar and caffeine (caffeine depends on the product which I will get into in a little bit) tend to launch your energy to peak very quickly which then leads to you crash just as quickly. This then ends up in being a vicious cycle of coffee, soda and sugary snacks throughout the day and that doesn't supply your body with nutrients at all. It probably won't do any good for your waist either.
While I'm on the subject of sugar, sugar free products are more dangerous than the sugary ones. If all that is available to me is a soda or a sugar free soda (I really don't enjoy soda but for an example), I'm going to pick the soda. Sugar free means that there is a sugar substitute, this goes for food, drinks and the sweeteners too. Sugar substitutes (not all of them are awful, I'm referring to the ones that we find more often, do your research) like aspartame and sucralose. Now the FDA has not said that they're linked to anything and take that as you will. There are studies that are being done to explore if these sweeteners are linked to side effects such as headaches, depression, cancer, ADD and seizures. I'd rather go with something that's natural. Why consume artificial and synthetic products when you really don't have to. These and many other low fat and low/ no sugar "foods" are usually empty calories and empty calories don't do anything for anyone.
That brings me to nutrient density. I've said it a thousand times, the food you eat needs to be nutrient dense, it needs to be packed with vitamins, minerals and all the goodness that makes your body work at it's best. Things like fat (fat is essential to your diet), protein (we all know and love our protein), fibre (yay fibre!) and complex carbs! Eating foods that are already packed with the things your body needs means you won't need to eat so much! Just feed your body with the right things on a regular basis. Have your meals and have a couple of snacks, drink lots of water and you'll find that you don't need to snack on sweets or drink copious amounts of soda or coffee to keep you going!
Back to the tips and recipes. This is a staple in my home for breakfast. My husband isn't so into the chia pudding (which is packed full of so much goodness I don't know where to start) so he just has the granola instead.
Chia Pudding Parfait
3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk you choose, cashew works really well)
1 tbsp of maple syrup (my favourite sweetener, chopped dates work well too)
1/2 cup of chia seeds (less if you want your pudding to be less firm)
3/4 cup of mixed fruit (I use berries, kiwi, strawberries, sometimes peaches. Frozen could work too)
1 tsp of hemp seeds
1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds (or whatever seeds you choose)
sprinkle of shredded coconut and/or cacao nibs or what ever you prefer!
1/3 cup of extra unsweetened nut milk
1 cup of granola (home made is always better!)
Start off with your chia pudding. If you can make this the night before it's great but you don't need to. Chia seeds thicken in a matter of minutes so you could set them aside for 10. They before more of a pudding consistency over night though.
Pour your 3/4 cup of milk, maple syrup and chia seeds into a bowl or mason jar and set aside. Leave it in the fridge if you're doing the overnight thing or set it aside in the kitchen for 10 minutes or so if you're doing the quick version.
Grab another bowl or mason jar and put 1/3 of the cup of granola at the bottom. Then the chopped fruit of your choice and then layer that with a few tablespoons of chia pudding. Repeat the process until the bowl or mason jar is full. Top with extra pieces of fruit and your seeds/coconut/cacao nibs. If you like more of a wet parfait then top it with the 1/3 cup of milk before you devour.
This recipe is really simple and keeps your going. It's also great as a snack too.
I'm obsessed with the Oh She Glows Cookbook at the moment. There's just so much information and great food in there. This is another great recipe that you can use as lunch or a snack (this bread and avocado with balsamic glaze is my favourite!!)
Recipe from Oh She Glows
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (optional, feel free to experiment with the seeds too!)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground into a flour (or more oat flour)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one horizontal, one vertical.
Add rolled oats and buckwheat into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms.
Add all dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well until combined. Stir in the water until combined. The mixture will be very watery and runny at first, but it will thicken up fairly quick. Scoop it into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary. Sprinkle the bread with pink Himalayan sea salt before going into the oven.
Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
This bread keeps for 2-3 days. The texture begins to go a little soft after that. You can freeze it and toast it as you go, that definitely works!