While there are lots of reasons you might feel fatigued and looking for ways to boost your energy, sometimes the solution is no further than a peek in your fridge or pantry.
Nutrient-rich foods can definitely boost and sustain your energy. And a one-two punch of food combinations can provide both a quick and longer-lasting energy pop.
Mix and match your own favorites: the burst of immediate energy comes from quickly digested carbohydrates — think fruits, veggies or whole grains — while the extended energy comes from fats (a longer digestive process providing sustained fueling).
Check out some top combinations that are portable and easy to prepare:
Grapes and cheese
Grapes are nature’s candy. They’re high in natural fruit sugar and readily digested for an immediate pop of energy. Combined with a serving of cheese (about the size of your thumb) that contributes fat and protein, you’ll get some sustained energy.
Fat is digested more slowly and also slows down the digestion of other nutrients in your stomach. The cheese provides the added value of much-needed dietary calcium.
Whole wheat crackers and peanut butter
Make sure to choose a whole grain carb for optimal nutrients. They’re easily digested for quick energy. Your body sees all carbs as the same no matter what source so stick with nutrient-dense foods. Topped with peanut butter, you get the sustained energy from the fat and protein.
Carrots and hummus
Carrots are a vegetable with just of touch of natural fruit sugar — a perfect pure carbohydrate for quick energy. The creamy, fat-containing hummus (made from chickpeas and tahini) supports your energy longer.
Remember that there are no bad food combos or those that don’t go together as long as you’re choosing healthy foods. Mix and match for your preferences and to avoid boredom.
Make sure your food duos are both healthy — one “junk” food paired with a healthy one doesn’t work! So skip the giant raisin bagel paired with string cheese, downsize and be mindful of both nutrients and portion size.