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rocket or space shuttle shaped sandwich with cheese and salami decorated with stars, moon and planets on a blue plate

March is National Nutrition Month and the 2023 theme is Fuel for the Future. Whether you are sleeping, reading, breathing, or playing sports, you need energy. Your energy can be affected by work, lack of physical activity, or poor sleep habits, but do not forget your diet can also be the culprit. Here are a few tips that can help put the pep back in your step.

Get the Pep Back in Your Step

  1. Breakfast is a must. A well balanced breakfast daily helps to reduce midday cravings. It can also encourage healthier food choices throughout the day. A vegetable omelet, oatmeal, and low-fat yogurt are good sources of fiber and protein. Limit meats such as sausage, bacon, and other processed meats. Even though they are a good source of protein, they are high in fat and sodium.
  2. Don’t skip meals. It is important to keep balanced energy levels by eating regular meals and snacks. Try to include multiple food groups: lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat free or low-fat dairy. Your brain needs a constant supply of nutrients because it has few reserves of its own, small meals or snack every few hours can reduce weariness.
  3. Do not depend on caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase or decrease energy levels. A cup of coffee in the morning may sharpen your mind and make you more alert, but if consumed too late in the day it can affect sleep. This can lead to feeling tired the next day. Although it provides a short-term boost, it does not provide the body with energy. Over consumption of sodas and energy drinks only provide extra calories with no nutritional value. Individuals who are caffeine sensitive should be aware of how much caffeine is consumed and the time of day. After 2 p.m. is usually not a good idea.
  4. Keep your carbs complex. Restricting carbohydrates from your diet may seem like a good idea—but are you restricting the wrong carbs? Complex carbs make you feel fuller for a longer time because of their protein and fiber content. They provide a steady supply of energy by stabilizing blood sugar. Find an abundance of these in whole grains, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beans, and legumes.
  5. Drink water. It may not be food, but it is one of the most important nutrients. It is vital to stay hydrated because the human body is two-thirds water. Not only does water aid in digestion, it also helps to regulate body temperature. It acts as a channel in a lot of metabolic processes in the body, energy production included. The classic recommendation is 8 cups a day, but this can vary person-to-person, according to weight, activity level, and where you live.

All foods can fit in a well-balanced diet, just remember the right combination of foods can give you the boost you need.

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