You might think that having several coffees throughout the day is the only way you’ll have enough energy to make it through a long day at work. But the coffee you have now might make you crave sugar later, and the crash from the sugar might make you crave more caffeine, and so forth. It turns into a wildly vicious cycle: a caffeine and sugar rollercoaster, which can make you cranky, tired, unproductive, and just plain mean when you reach the sugar & caffeine “lows.”
Did you know there are other, healthy, ways to increase your energy?
Here are some tips to help you zoom through those legal documents without getting stuck in the endless caffeine and sugar trap:
1. Swap tea for one cup of Joe. Sure, black, green and white teas all have caffeine, but they have a much lower caffeine content than plain old coffee, and they’re packed with antioxidants. Try swapping just one of your regular cups of coffee for a freshly steeped tea for a week, and you might notice that you’re a little more even-keeled.
2. Eat healthy fats. High-quality fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, and provide lubrication to keep the body (and the brain) functioning—I’ve personally found that eating good fats helps reduce my cravings for junk, and it also helps me maintain a steady energy level. What are some healthy fats? Try avocados, olives, coconuts, wild salmon, omega-3 eggs, and whole nuts and seeds.
3. Opt for natural sugars. Sugar cravings can cause us to make desperate choices, like grabbing a Snickers bar or a soda, just to get our blood sugar back up to its “high.” Instead of choosing sugar-laden snacks, try to opt for foods that are naturally sweet, such as fruits and sweet veggies (like carrots, beets, or sweet potatoes). And if you use sweeteners, opt for the natural ones: honey, maple syrup, agave, stevia, coconut sugar, and palm sugar, to name a few.
4. Ch-ch-ch-CHIA! When I have a big day ahead of me, I reach for chia seeds. Chia isn’t just for making funny-looking house plants anymore; it is one of the best superfoods around: full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, E and D, and much more! Don’t know what to do with chia? Toss it on salads, add it to smoothies, top your yogurt with it, or make an easy (5-minute) chocolate chia pudding.
Bottom line: there are a lot of ways to energize yourself without racing to Starbucks or downing a donut. And if all else fails, try taking a power nap at or under your desk (George Costanza style).
Megan Grandinetti is a New York city-based attorney, health coach, and yoga teacher. Megan’s work as a health coach focuses on improving the health and wellness of busy professionals. Find out more about Megan (a.k.a. Health Coach Meg) on her website www.healthcoachmeg.com or her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/megwellnessyoga