Eat Your Way to a More Energetic You

A balanced diet includes sensible portions of the five primary food groups.

A balanced diet includes sensible portions of the five primary food groups.

Have you ever resolved to start eating healthy but eventually given up because didn’t know where to start? You’re not alone.

Expert nutritional advice seems as fickle as Central Texas weather. The good news is that if you don’t like what you’re hearing, give it a few years and it’ll change.

Three decades ago, Congress issued the first dietary guidelines and pinned America’s obesity epidemic squarely on fat. “Big food” responded with low-fat versions of chips, cereal, crackers and other household staples.

Unfortunately, when you remove fat from food, you often sacrifice taste. To make low-fat items palatable, manufacturers bumped the sugar content, which only facilitated our plunge toward obesity.

Today, many experts have redirected their efforts toward warning the public about the ill effects of excess sugar. The food companies have predictably introduced a range of sugar substitutes that promise to satisfy our sweet tooth while keeping us trim, fit and swimsuit-ready.

Given the veritable buffet of nutritional advice and fad diets, it can be difficult for even the most well-intentioned of us to know exactly what constitutes a healthy diet. What we do know is that the food we choose affects our body’s performance, including its ability to fight fatigue. Here are a handful of time-tested tips for eating your way to a more energetic you:

  • Consult your physician. Together, you can craft a nutritional plan that meets your unique needs.
  • Jump-start your day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Don’t skip meals. Studies published in Nutritional Health found that missing any meal during the day led to an overall greater feeling of fatigue.
  • Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and foods that help you beat fatigue.
  • Avoid fried food, white bread, white potatoes, doughnuts, chips and other foods that trigger post-meal sleepiness.
  • Don’t be afraid to snack, but choose wisely. Energy-boosting snacks combine protein, a little fat and some fiber, such as peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker.
  • Stay hydrated. Sometimes, when you feel tired, your body is trying to tell you it needs water. Keep a tall glass of water at your desk to make hydration easier
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants several hours before bed.
  • Steer clear of spicy and acidic foods at night. They can cause heartburn and derail your sleep.

Missed our last post?
This is the second in a series of four posts showing how a commitment to wellness can help workers manage fatigue. If you missed our first post, click here to read it. In our next post, we’ll share tips for working exercise into your daily grind.

More information on wellness
Worker health and safety are inseparable. Healthy workers tend to get injured less, and when they do get injured, they recover faster. For more information on the symbiotic relationship between health and safety, click on these links:

Why Wellness Matters in Workers’ Comp

10 Tips for Integrating Health and Safety

Worker Health and Safety: A Symbiotic Relationship

The Business Case for Employee Wellness Programs

3 Tips for a Healthier, Safer You

Make Wellness Part of Your Benefits Package

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