Food: Energy Boosters and Energy Losers

By Anna E. Mason

What and how to eat to boost your precious energy and prevent you from ‘walking through treacle’ at 4pm each afternoon.

Feeling tired all the time? Can’t seem to get yourself going in the morning and desperate to flop into bed at night?

Follow these few simple tweaks to your daily eating habits and double your energy levels in just five days!

Energy Boosters

1. Eat at least two low GI meals a day

Many of the carbohydrate based foods that we eat on a daily basis such as breads, pasta, rice, cereals, cakes and biscuits are highly processed, refined and lacking in their natural fibre therefore, once eaten, they are broken down very quickly causing our blood sugars to surge. These surges are followed by a sudden drop leaving us feeling tired, lethargic and lacking in concentration.

Research shows that swapping fast releasing, high GI, foods for lower GI alternatives such as wholegrain cereals, rye bread, wild or basmati rice, beans, pulses and fresh fruit and vegetables is an excellent way to significantly increase your energy.

2. Avoid all processed foods, avoid the plastic sandwich and the biscuit with the tea break. These will only rob you of precious energy.

3. Eat only natural foods, take your own wraps for lunchtime, you will feel good both energy wise and cash wise, saving yourself a small fortune at the end of the week.

4. Drink plenty of water and limit yourself to a couple of cups of tea or coffee per day. Caffeine robs you of energy, sabotages your weight loss and dehydrates you, drink it sparingly.

5. Simply switch from making carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, cereals, rice or potatoes the biggest ratio of food on your plate to fruit or vegetables instead. This way, you’ll keep blood sugars stable, hunger and food cravings at bay and, because we naturally prefer to eat carbs with fats (think bread without the spread, baked potatoes without the butter and crackers without the cheese), you’ll automatically cut back on your fat intake too.

Energy Losers

These are the foods you want to avoid if you want to boost your energy.

1. Avoid all processed foods. Why? Because they contain additives, preservatives, colourings and flavourings. These are not natural for us and can contribute to ill health and weight gain.

2. Avoid large quantities of bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. It is easy to pile these onto our plates as a ‘filler’. In fact all of these foods are high in sugar and will often result in creating cravings and tiredness. Pile your plate with dark green leafy vegetables or big salads instead.

3. Avoid grazing on sweets and biscuits. The added sugar is detrimental to your blood sugar, will create cravings and tiredness particularly around the middle of the afternoon. Typically this is just the time when you have them to boost your energy. Be warned they have the opposite effect.

4. Avoid sugar free or low sugar fizzy drinks. Again they boost the blood sugar giving you a small peak in immediate energy which dissipates very quickly leaving you flagging, feeling tired and irritable and craving a chocolate bar.

5. Avoid sugar or sweeteners in your tea or coffee. Oddly both sugar and sweeteners provide us with an increase in blood sugar giving us a minor and short lived in energy which very quickly results in tiredness and lethargy. Sweeteners can also be carcinogenic so don’t even bother with them.

Re-fuel – don’t drool!

Fuel yourself up regularly to get the most form your energy and to feel great. Often people make the classic mistake of ignoring their personal needs and not planning their food for the day. Therefore they resort to eating nothing at all and then consume the entire contents of the fridge the second they walk through the door. Or they snack on processed rubbish all day long that is high in sugar, high in fat, high in calories and low in vital vitamins and nutrients.

If you were to drive from London to Edinburgh with only a little petrol you wouldn’t expect your car to keep going on the ‘promise’ you’d fill it up when you get there -so why is it that that’s exactly what we expect our bodies to do when we race through the day on an empty stomach drooling over all the fatty, sugary foods as we go? Instead, switch to eating the majority of your calories during the day when you need them most.


Eat three meals, breakfast, lunch and evening meal plus two healthy snacks.

Always have a healthy, low GI snack such as a small handful of nuts, seeds, a low fat yogurt, some fruit or a wholegrain cracker topped with cottage cheese mid- morning and mid -afternoon.

Swap calorie-packed evening desserts for a low-fat yogurt or fresh fruit.

Don’t have foods in the house that you know will tempt you into nibbling in the evenings.

Brush your teeth straight after dinner. You’ll be amazed how effective that can be at stopping you from heading back into the kitchen!

If you would like to find out more about our healthy eating programmes call 0845 533 5302.

At The Healthy Employee we provide healthy eating solutions for businesses of all sizes. The Healthy Employee enables companies to improve the health, energy and productivity of their people and provide a highly valued benefit in kind in a cost effective way. If you want to provide your staff with something new and exciting, that they’ll both enjoy and benefit greatly from, and are looking for a way to boost staff energy, employee health and personal effectiveness, we can help. If you already offer health-related benefits, work-life balance initiatives or a company gym scheme, great! Let us help you make the most of your existing schemes and add value by introducing you to our healthy eating solutions. To find out more about our healthy eating solutions call 0845 533 5302 and visit

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