When it comes to keeping energized, we really are what we eat. Making sure we consume balanced meals and snacks throughout the day is part of the solution to helping us feel our best. Different food groups provide different nutrients, which are broken down and used at different rates. This is why we need a combination of foods to keep us energized throughout the day. Since carbohydrates, protein and fat move through the stomach at different rates, eating meals and snacks that provide a combination of these nutrients helps us get a steady supply of energy.
- Carbohydrates: Found in grains, fruits and vegetables, they provide a quick energy supply, but typically leave the stomach within an hour.
- Protein: This nutrient, found in meat and milk products, usually takes about two hours to digest.
- Fats: These tend to stay in the stomach the longest — about three to five hours.
To get a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat each time you eat, try to eat meals that include foods from at least three food groups and snacks that include foods from at least two.
Lift Your Spirits
If you’re struggling to get to the gym, consider this: Workouts are a good way to beat the blues.
In a study of adults with mild to moderate depression, researchers noted that burning a certain number of calories each week through aerobic exercise resulted in significantly lower depression scores over time. The workouts in the study were equivalent to a 150-pound person burning about 1,200 calories per week.
In summary, eat a healthful variety of foods from all the food groups, and go burn some calories!