Days are getting longer, temps are warming up, and you have lots of plans — but do you lack the energy to make them happen? After spending winter mostly indoors, it can be tough to transition to the change in seasons. Fortunately, simple meal and snack swaps, plus new approaches to your exercise routine, can help get you moving again.
Here are easy tips to follow to help you feel ready for just about anything this season.
Choose energy-boosting foods
“You can find more effective — and longer-lasting — energy boosters than reaching for additional cups of coffee or a sugary snack,” says Colette Heimowitz, vice president of Nutrition and Education at Simply Good Foods Company. “You’ll notice a big difference in your mood and energy levels just from swapping out high-glycemic carbs with added sugars and refined grains for higher quality, energy-boosting choices like colorful vegetables, low-glycemic fruits and high-fiber whole grains.”
For better long-term energy and nutrition, try:
- Apples — Apples provide filling fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. Pair an apple with peanut butter or cheese to lessen the glycemic impact.
- Avocados — These are a great source of heart-friendly monounsaturated fat, plus oleic acid, folate and vitamin E. Have half an avocado as a snack on toasted sprouted bread, or add slices to tossed salad or scrambled eggs. An avocado a day combined with a healthy diet may lower LDL cholesterol.
- Nuts — Most nuts combine protein, healthy fats and fiber that help you feel full, so you’re less likely to experience energy dips. Aim for up to two one-ounce nut snacks per day, such as topping a serving of full-fat Greek yogurt in the morning or for an afternoon snack.
- Leafy green vegetables — Spinach is one example, full of nutrients like fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, E and K — plus energy-boosting iron. Add spinach to any egg dish, soup or salad.
- Fatty fish — Salmon is popular for good reason, as it’s flavorful plus full of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to fill you up and minimize blood sugar swings.
- Atkins Iced Chai Protein Shake — For a quick pick-me-up, this ready-to-drink creamy shake is made with real tea and spiced chai flavor. It contains as much caffeine as a cup of tea while delivering protein and fiber, offering a non-coffee alternative for those seeking more protein and energy.
Try this recipe for a protein boost:
2 tablespoons quick cooking oats, raw
2 tablespoons hemp hearts
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons coconut, unsweetened, shredded
1 Atkins Iced Chai Protein Shake
1 tablespoon pine nuts, roasted
1 teaspoon coconut, unsweetened, shredded
2 pinches ground cinnamon
In each of 2 6-ounce jars with lids, mix 1 tablespoon oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon hemp hearts and 1 tablespoon coconut shreds until evenly combined. Add half the shake (5.5 fluid ounces) to each jar and mix until very well combined. Cover with lids and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Before serving, lightly toast pine nuts in a 400-degree oven for 3 minutes, shaking once halfway through. Top each jar with 1/2 tablespoon roasted pine nuts, 1/2 teaspoon coconut shreds and a pinch cinnamon. Makes 2 servings.
Visit Atkins.com for more low-carb nutrition ideas.
Springtime is the best time to get moving
Spring weather is perfect for getting outside and enjoying a dose of immune-boosting vitamin D, whether walking with friends, running or biking. Exercise helps:
- Preserve and build lean body mass
- Improve mood and decrease depression
- Maintain weight loss or lose weight
- Prevent heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more
- Improve sleep
- Boost energy
Level up your usual routine or try something new
Even if you exercise regularly, your body gets used to your current level of exercise and may no longer feel challenged. You may need a refresh. Do you enjoy walking on a treadmill or biking indoors? Take it outside or increase your pace. Plateaued in your strength routine? Add more reps or weight.
Challenge your body with a new activity. Ever try pickleball or badminton? How about salsa or line dancing? Or stream new workouts, from yoga to jump roping. Find something that adds excitement to your routine, that you look forward to doing.
Following these tips, you’ll find yourself bursting with energy as you welcome the longer, warmer spring days.