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High Energy Meal Plans

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
High Energy Meal Plans
Hummus and pita bread as a snack can supply long-lasting energy. Photo Credit: NatashaPhoto/iStock/Getty Images

If you feel as though you need an extra pep in your step, skip the energy drink and instead look at your diet. What you eat affects how you feel, especially your energy levels. To get an extra boost, eat high-energy meals that emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lean sources of protein.

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Meal Basics

When it comes to energy levels, food choices really matter. While a candy bar certainly gives you a burst of energy, you use it up quickly. For long-lasting energy, you're better off with whole grains and healthy fats. To fight off mental meltdowns, eat small, frequent meals. Your brain is only able to store a small amount of energy, so you need to eat often to keep it fueled. Don't forget to drink water. Fatigue is often the first sign of dehydration, so be sure to drink a glass of water with each meal and snack to stay hydrated.

Breakfast Boost

Both carbs and fats are your body's source of energy, so include good food sources of these nutrients at your breakfast meal. A high-energy breakfast might include a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and chopped walnuts plus a container of low-fat yogurt. Or toast a whole wheat English muffin, top it with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and serve it up with a glass of orange juice. As a source of carbs and fat, nuts and nut butters offer a sustained source of energy.

Second Breakfast

You don't need to eat large amounts of food to keep your energy levels up. A good second breakfast that can help boost energy might include a fresh apple with a handful of almonds or whole-grain crackers with low-fat yogurt.

Light Lunch

Eating too large a lunch can make you feel like you need an afternoon nap, according to the Harvard Medical School, so keep it light. A high-energy lunch might include a tuna sandwich stuffed into a whole wheat pita with a banana. Or, for those cold winter afternoons, have a cup of soup with whole grain crackers and a wedge of low-fat cheese.

Re-energizing Snack

Don't forget to feed your brain in the afternoon to get yourself re-energized as you move into the early evening hours. Healthy options include hummus with carrot and celery sticks or a few dried apricots.

Refuel at Dinner

Refuel your energy stores with a carb-focused dinner meal. That means meals that emphasize veggies and whole grains. Good options include a chicken and veggie stir fry with brown rice or whole wheat pasta primavera with shrimp and a salad topped with an olive oil-based dressing.

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