Many of us know the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating well. However when we are on the go and busy at work, social activities or family life it is easy to forget! Therefore, many of us tend to take the quick options such as fast food and take away or skip eating all together because of convenience and ease. As this habit is an unhealthy one to get into many Australians are becoming overweight or obese and finding it considerably difficult to backtrack! Healthy eating is one step that you can take to help improve not only your day but also your health, making you happier and more productive! Not to mention, healthy eating really isn’t as hard as you would think.
4 Secrets to Maintaining your Energy throughout the Day
There are five secrets to maintaining energy throughout the day. Healthy eating is a great way to improve energy levels! What this means is that you are meeting most, if not all, your nutritional requirements by consuming a well-balanced and sufficient diet. This in turn provides your body with the energy necessary to keep it going throughout the day. One way to help you make sure you are meeting these requirements is by having a look at the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. These guidelines were developed to highlight what and how much we should be consuming. It does this by identifying the main food groups and how much we should be having of each one. These guidelines are easy to follow and are divided into gender and age group so they are specific for the person reading them.
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
This saying cannot be anymore true in terms of nutrition. However, it is also important to recognise that you won’t be able to plan and prepare all your meals for the week, every week. You do have a life! Instead here are three ways to be more organised for the week to come!
1. Use a meal plan to plan what you will eat for the week. A meal plan should only take you an hour throughout your week. 1 hour is only 4% of your day.
2. Go shopping using a SHOPPING LIST to get only what you need at the beginning of the week
3. Choose a grain for the week and cook it. Grains are usually what takes the longest time to prepare so if you cook half the packet of your favourite grain, during the week all you have to do is scoop it into your salad!
Glycemic Index (GI) is an indicator of how quickly glucose is absorbed after meal consumption. It relates to how quickly blood glucose rises and how quickly it returns to normal.
Soluble fibre, acidity and fat content can also affect GI.
Having a Low GI breakfast may be helpful as it helps delay hunger and control appetite making you less hungry throughout the day. Low GI foods include All Bran, bananas and yoghurt.
Low GI + high fiber foods are the best combination to help you last until your next meal without being hungry.
A good source of low GI carbohydrates at lunch time will boost your energy back up to get you through the day and make you last until dinner.
2 slices of multigrain bread.
Low GI white bread
Dietary fibre is the structural part of plants, therefore it is present in high amounts in fruits and vegetables.
Other high fibre sources include; oats, barley, legumes, whole grains and psyllum husk.
Fibre is associated with protecting against heart disease and diabetes by lowering blood cholesterol levels (soluble).
High fibre foods are filling and keep you fuller for longer.
Protein and Carbohydrate
Carbohydrates provide glucose to your blood and brain, maintaining energy.
Protein helps regulate digestion, metabolism and provides essential amino acids.
Hemoglobin, a major protein- packs the red blood cells and carries oxygen around the body, essential for maintaining energy levels.
What a healthy Lunch Consists of
It is important your lunch is a mixture of:
Carbohydrates to give you energy
High Quality Protein for satiety
Vegetables and Salad to ensure you are meeting all your vitamin and mineral requirements
Water to keep you hydrated
Healthy Meal Ideas for Lunch
Sandwiches (low GI bread) /wrap/ 3-4 slices of Ryvita/Vitaweet with chicken/tuna/roast beef slices/eggs and side salad
Salad with a can of mixed beans/1 cup of pasta (tomato/cucumber/lettuce/beetroot/capsicum/spinach/carrot/cucumber/avocado) with
chicken/tuna/roast beef slices/eggs
Homemade vegetables soup with extra legumes
Potato(Nicola/Carisma)/sweet potato salad
Rice paper rolls & sashimi (raw fish)
Asian noodle soup
Subway* selected filling
Add ons to any of these may include avocado, nuts, hommus, fruit.
Unhealthy Meal Ideas for Lunch
Combination fried noodle
Fish and chips
Meat pies/sausage rolls.
Fast food options.
High Quality Proteins
High quality proteins are important for muscles strength after exercise and to keep our iron levels up.
They help to reduce hunger.
Vegetables and Salad
If you are including both low GI carbohydrates and high quality proteins all you need is some vegetable or salad to make a perfect balance meal.
Vegetables and salad are considered to be “free” foods, that means you can include as much as you want in your meal.
EXAMPLES: lettuce, capsicum, tomato, cucumber, celery, mushrooms, eggplant.
Having an afternoon snack is a great way to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. If your afternoon snack includes both a Low GI Carbohydrate and a high quality protein it should help to give you a burst of energy to help you finish off the day as well as keep you full until dinner rolls around.
25g plain pop corn
Carrots/tomatoes/celery/capsicum with dip (hommus or beetroot etc)
1 slice of toast with tomato/spread/cheese.
1 tub of 200g low fat yoghurt* Yoplait forme, Nestle Diet, Dairy Farmer Thick & Creamy 60% less sugar
15g mixed nuts – 1 handful
1 medium fruit e.g. apple, banana, orange
2 small fruits e.g. kiwi
1-2 wholegrain biscuits e.g. Ryvita/Vitaweet or 2-4 slices Kavli with low fat ricotta/hommus
1 muesli bar* Carman’s classic/Body wise/Be Natural Trail Bar
Skinny cow, ice cream cookies.
Scones (low GI, high fat with cream and jam)
Commercial cakes (high in fat & sugar)
Sweet biscuits (high in fat & sugar)
Potato crisps (high in fat)
Some flavored savory biscuits e.g. Shapes (high fat & sodium)
Chocolate and lollies (high in fat & sugar)
Commercial low fat cookies
Some muesli bars: nutrigrain bars, kellogs ICMs
Wine & beer.
- NHMRC, Department of Health and Ageing 2013, Australian Dietary Guidelines. NHMRC: Canberra
- NHMRC, Department of Health and Ageing 2013, Healthy Eating for Adults. NHMRC: Canberra. Retrieved from: http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55g_adult_brochure.pdf.
- Whitney, E., Rolfes, SR, Crowe, T., Cameron-Smith, D. & Walsh, A. (2011). Understanding Nutrition: Australia and New Zealand Edition. South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning Australia.