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Optimize your energy levels through your diet

Personal · Jun 15, 2020

By Andrea Stokes, Registered Dietitian, Medisys Health Group

If you’ve been working from home for the last several weeks, your diet has likely fallen into one of two camps: survival mode eating, characterized by snacking throughout the day and relying heavily on convenience foods, or inspired chef eating, relishing in the ability to prepare great meals in your own kitchen in the middle of the workday.

There is no shame in falling into the first camp; this pandemic has challenged us in countless ways, and many of us have had to stay the course in survival mode. If you’ve been eating really well while working from home, I salute you — and I expect you may already be mourning your time in the kitchen as you get ready to return to the office. No matter your current nutrition situation, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a common effect on us all: we are very tired. And while everybody knows that poor nutrition can lead to weight gain, most underestimate the role that diet plays in our energy levels throughout the day. We need as much healthy energy as we can get during the home stretch of this pandemic marathon, and by ensuring our diets are balanced with the proper amounts of protein, fibre and healthy carbohydrates, we can maintain consistent energy and optimize productivity all day long. Get started with these five strategies:

1. Include protein and high-fibre carbs with each meal

Avoid a sugar rush – and crash – by combining a filling source of protein with healthy, high-fibre carbohydrate sources. • Great protein sources include: lean meats, fish, Greek yogurt, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. • Fibre-rich carbohydrates include: fruits, veggies, oatmeal, bran, brown rice, beans, peas, lentils, and whole grain breads and crackers.

2. Add snacks between meals

Keep your energy up with regular snacks that include a good source of protein.

Pro tip: Try Greek yogurt with berries, a banana with peanut butter, or raw veggies with hummus. For more tips on healthy snacks check out the Medisys Recipe Booklet.

3. Avoid added sugars

Added sugars in our food and drinks cause drastic spikes and dips in energy that actually make fatigue worse – what goes up must come down! So, stick to natural sources of sweetness, like fruit, and avoid highly-processed items such as cookies and sugary pop.

4. Stay hydrated

Dehydration is common and can be a huge drain on energy. Aim for at least 8-10 cups of water per day. Keep a water bottle with you to encourage you to drink throughout the day. If you need some help with kick-starting your water intake habits. Join the 9-Day Hydration Challenge.

5. Stick to natural foods

At least 80% of what you eat should be natural, minimally processed foods. Avoid foods with long ingredient lists and stick to mostly single-ingredient items. Think fruits, veggies, meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains.

Chronic fatigue can be an indicator of various mental and physical health issues. If you feel increasingly tired, contact your primary care provider or use the Akira by TELUS Health App to speak with a health care professional today.