Even though spring is just around the corner (the official start of spring was March 21), many places are still buried under piles of snow and spring seems a long way off. When winter drags on, it can be difficult to keep your energy levels up. Less sunlight, lots of time indoors and more germs hanging around all mean one thing: you need to work extra hard to stay energized and healthy.
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk RHN hosts a healthy cooking show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and here she shares her top foods for energy.
Your Top 5 Foods to Boost Winter Energy
1. Vitamin D
While winter will ignite your love of high fat, high carb snacks, opt instead for Vitamin D rich foods, such as mushrooms, eggs, and healthy fish like salmon, cod, and sardines. Fish oil with Vitamin D works if you do not like fish.
2. Good Fats
Nuts and dried berries are the ideal combination of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Essential fats in seeds provide long-lasting energy, particularly for longer runs or swims over an hour. Pumpkin seeds and Hemp Hearts are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, keeping you feeling full and energized longer. They also contain manganese, magnesium, and zinc, which provide additional energy support to maximize gym time.
To avoid excess sugars and oils that can be added to many popular trail mixes, get creative and make your own! Combine almonds or hazelnuts with hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds plus dried apple juice infused cranberries.
Energy boosting Goji berries improve the body’s ability to handle stress and support healthy mood, mind, and memory. Goji also increases blood flow, which helps to oxygenate all of the cells and tissues of the body, including the sex organs, which increases libido (that’s why they’re called the Happy Berry of Tibet).
3. MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides)
Coconut is the ultimate energizer because it contains MCTs. Look for low sugar macaroons sweetened with honey that will reduce the glycemic index of the treat. Coconut water based smoothies can also give you an instant lift.
4. B Vitamins
The highest natural sources of these energy vitamins are greens, avocado, and beans. Broccoli is also a great energy provider (as well as being stuffed with fiber, B2, folate, vitamins A and C, and potassium). Spinach is the energy food for Popeye because it is packed with iron and B vitamins. Lentil dip is a nice change, but any hummus is a great, easy to find option for bean dip. Avocado contains tons of vitamin B and Omegas 3 and 9.
5. Slow Burning Carbs with Protein
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that contains more protein than any other grain. The grain is so rich in amino acids that it is a rare vegan source of complete protein—high in lysine, methionine, and cysteine, making it ideal for post-workout meals to help build muscle. It is also high in folate, magnesium, and manganese, making it a nutrient-packed source of carbohydrates for long-lasting energy levels. Quinoa is a great replacement for wheat or refined carbohydrates as it can help support a healthy cardiovascular system, blood pressure levels, and bowel health. Simply switch out a grain, like bread, rice, or pasta, for quinoa and feel those energy levels rise. Be sure to look for fair-trade quinoa.
Eating these will ensure that your energy levels stay high as you ride out the rest of this polar winter. Spring will be here before you know it!