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Getting your energy back on track with healthy snacks

By Amber Foley - Qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath from Nutra-life

So to help to get your new year back on track, here’s a ‘how-to’ to show you how to build and strengthen your energy by choosing gut healthy snacks. But before we dig into the good stuff, let’s have a look at some simple ways you can make sure your gut is working at its peak and is ready to receive all that yummy goodness.

Step 1: Drink plenty of filtered water.
You will have heard the recommendation to drink 2L of water every day, but have you ever really tried it? Hydration is not only key to preventing dehydration, it is vital to your digestive processes. One digestive organ that especially relies on your water intake is your liver – and given it is constantly working to remove toxins from your body (and intricately relies on water for this process), leaving yourself dehydrated can lead to poor elimination of toxins and other waste matter.

Step 2: Choose a good fibre source
And whilst we are talking about elimination, let’s take a closer look at your fibre intake. Are you choosing wholegrain bread over white bread? Are you adding seeds like Chia or Flaxseeds in with your morning cereal? Are you eating your green leafy vegetables, like spinach and broccoli? All these foods contain fibre that helps your body to process and remove waste from your body. This is so important for energy, as when your body is preoccupied with dealing with constipation and other digestive issues, it isn’t working to get all the energy it can out of the food you eat.

Step 3: Choose a good quality probiotic
Your gut needs healthy, good quality probiotic bacteria every day in order to help to protect the gut from inflammation, while supporting healthy digestion. Probiotics can be taken as a capsule or powder, and are most important following a course of antibiotics (because antibiotics kill all the good AND bad bacteria in your body) or if you experience gut symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating or other irritable or inflammatory condition. Chose a multi-strain probiotic to provide the most benefits (10 or more strains is a good start).

Predictable meal times a must
The first step in getting your energy back is choosing consistent meal times and sticking with them. When meal times are not consistent, you can have a tendency to over eat or choose meals high in energy, but low in nutrients. For balanced energy it is better to choose consistent meal times, to eat until you are satisfied (but not ‘full’), and institute healthy snacking between meals to keep your metabolism going. Having consistent meal times also allows you to plan ahead and make healthier food available in your fridge, kitchen, and on your desk at work, in order to keep you away from the café or local takeaway store. With convenience comes food that is usually nutrient deficient. And the less nutrients, the lower your energy (regardless of how many calories you consume).

An example of a healthy eating times:
7am Breakfast
10am Healthy snack
1pm Lunch
4pm Healthy snack
7pm Dinner

Now, for some healthy snack suggestions

  • Choose healthy, slow burning carbohydrates (like wholegrain crackers, brown rice crackers). Always choose wholegrain (not white flour) based crackers for a healthy snack.
  • Choose healthy plant-based foods – like hummus (from chickpeas), vegetables sticks made from celery or carrot, nuts or seeds (like almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pepitas), or avocado. With these high protein and slow burning energy options, you’ll feel more than satisfied. 
  • Is it made from healthy whole foods (and not high sugar snack or diet foods)? – try Greek yoghurt rather than diet yoghurt, it will keep you fuller longer and isn’t full of sugar. 
  • Is it ‘snack-sized’? As an indication, choose a small hand full (less than half a cup) of nuts and seeds, or half a cup of whole yoghurt mixed with a tablespoon of nuts and seeds. A quarter cup of hummus with vegetable sticks or on wholegrain crackers is another great option.

Now here’s to a happy, healthy, motivated and energetic 2017!

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