Photo: Pouring a glass of water

by Sabra Leomo, RD

Spring is officially here on March 20th. If you notice that you are dragging in the morning or you find yourself exhausted and having a hard time focusing after lunch try these natural energy boosters to add some “spring” to your step:

Healthy Hydration

Did you know that often when you feel tired you may actually be dehydrated? We often confuse dehydration with feelings of being tired. Your body needs adequate fluids to function properly! When you wake up in the morning drink a glass of water first thing to hydrate after sleeping and continue drinking water throughout the day. Not a fan of plain water? Try different flavors of unsweetened herbal tea or add fruit slices to your water for variety.

Snack Smartly

You may feel tempted to hit the “snack table” at work for a quick sugar boost but it will leave you feeling worse in the long run. Instead, opt for snacks that provide both protein and healthy carbohydrates. The mixture of protein and carbohydrates will help keep you full and satisfied longer while stabilizing your blood glucose (sugar) which prevents the dreaded “sugar crash”.

A few snack options that mix protein and healthy carbohydrates include hummus/cut veggies, string cheese/whole wheat crackers, fruit smoothie, apple slices/nut butter sprinkled with cinnamon, or ¼ cup trail mix.

Caffeinate Carefully

Instead of reaching for a sugar-filled coffee drink that will leave you with a buzz and then a crash; try unsweetened green tea. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee. However, green tea is a great afternoon pick-me-up when you need to focus and get work done. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine which works with the caffeine improve mental alertness and focus. To keep caffeine from interfering with quality sleep, stop drinking any beverages that contain caffeine at least 6 hours before you go to sleep.

Effective Exercise

The last thing you may want to do when you are feeling exhausted is exercise. Rethink those exercise “blahs” because even a 10 minute walk or gentle stretches at your desk can be enough to increase energy and get your blood flowing. You will be amazed at what a mental and physical pick-me-up exercise can have to help beat the afternoon energy slump.

Eat enough to fuel your day and don’t skip meals which can lead you to feeling hungry, tired, and unmotivated. The goal is to nourish your body with consistent and balanced energy so you can tackle your to-do list and still have energy at the end of the day.