10 Women With Tons Of Energy Reveal Exactly What They Eat All Day To Feel So Energized

 

 Food prep fresh vegetables

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It’s tempting to sip a sugary latte in the morning or grab a candy bar when you hit a midday slump. While those sweet treats can give you a quick boost, you’ll usually end up crashing—and craving even more sweets. But the right foods can keep you feeling energized all day, without all the ups and downs. These 10 women reveal what foods they reach for when they need to power through a long day. (Repeat after us: No more dieting. Ever. Instead, learn how to eat clean—with zero deprivation!—and watch the pounds drop off, with Your Metabolism Makeover.)

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 Mini-meals

“Two years ago, I was exhausted, overweight, and overwhelmed by life,” says Sarah Foster, a group fitness instructor in Poughkeepsie, NY. I was too tired to cook, so I ate a lot of takeout, and before long I’d feel drained again. To break the cycle, I started eating 5 or 6 small meals a day, which I prep in advance. Fueling my body properly increased my energy levels; it’s amazing how quickly my body responded.”

Favorite energy-boosting food: “My no-crash lunch is a turkey burger topped with guacamole, half a sweet potato, and a green salad on the side.”

MORE: 7 Reasons You’re Tired All The Time

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Eliza Whetzel, RD, a nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City, noticed a dramatic improvement in her energy level after she started including more healthy fats in her diet—like avocados, walnuts, hummus, or coconut oil. “Adding fat has made all the difference,” she says.

Favorite energy-boosting food: Salad with chicken, quinoa, olives, avocado, and olive oil vinaigrette.

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Making smoothies for breakfast every morning “has been life-changing,” says Nancy Knutson, director of marketing for the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. “Thanks to that simple adjustment, I have more energy than I’ve ever experienced. Take my coffee—just leave me my smoothie.”

Favorite energy-boosting food: A smoothie made with frozen or fresh fruit, a banana, Greek yogurt, whey protein powder, spinach, and fiber powder or flax seeds. (We like NorCal Organic whey protein powder.)

MORE: 20 Super-Healthy Smoothie Recipes

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“The single thing that’s helped me most with maintaining energy throughout the day is water—lots of water,” says Lyssa Menard, a clinical health psychologist in Chicago. “Proper hydration is so critical to energy maintenance, but I wasn’t taking it as seriously as [my diet].” Once she made a point of frequenting her office water cooler, she says, “My energy shot through the roof.”

Favorite energy-boosting food: A glass of water (duh!).

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In her 20s, Kerri Axelrod, a lifestyle coach and yoga instructor in Boston, battled chronic fatigue caused by an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. “There were days I literally couldn’t get out of bed,” she says. “It wasn’t until I transformed the way I approached food—transitioning away from processed foods and removing gluten and dairy from my diet—that I was able to see a lasting change. When I nourished my body properly, I was able to regain energy.”

Favorite energy-boosting food: Energy bites made with almond butter, dates, chia seeds, gluten-free oats, and dairy-free dark chocolate. (Here’s another tasty way to whip up energy bites.)

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After moving out on her own for the first time, Liana Werner Gray, a natural-food chef based in New York City, fell into a junk-food rut. “I was always drained,” she says. “I would be up one minute and down the next because my body was using so much energy to digest all the processed foods and refined sugars.” She started satisfying her sweet tooth with natural sugars— like honey, dates, and fruits—and found it much easier to sustain her energy.

Favorite energy-boosting food: Acai bowls, made by blending acai with a frozen banana. “It’s basically a smoothie poured into a bowl, with fun toppings like fresh berries, gluten-free granola, and chia seeds,” she says. (Here are 9 more breakfast bowls you’ll love.)

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Lyn Alden, a finance blogger based in Atlantic City, NJ, says switching to a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet dramatically improved her energy. “From the moment I wake up to the minute I go to sleep, I never feel hunger cravings or drops in energy,” she says. (Not everyone will respond to a ketogenic diet the same way; the extremely low-carb count leaves some people feeling zapped.)

Favorite energy-boosting food: Salad with leafy greens, sliced avocado, a can of sardines, lemon juice, and olive oil. “Sardines taste like tuna, but are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat,” she says.

 

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“After finding out about how beneficial a vegetarian diet was for the planet, I decided to try it and discovered another bonus—I have so much more energy!” says Julie Hancher, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Green Philly Blog. “I don’t need as much coffee as I did before going before vegetarian.”

Favorite energy-boosting food: Energy-boosting bars made with quinoa, dates, almonds, peanut butter, and a pinch of melted cacao chips on top.

MORE: 4 Energy Bars You Can Make In Your Slow Cooker

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Egg whites
“I didn’t eat breakfast at all for years, because I’ve always enjoyed eating in the evening and wanted to ‘save my calories’ for night,” says Devin Alexander, a cookbook author and celebrity chef in Los Angeles. “Just eating a small breakfast changed both my metabolism and energy level. When I start my day with lean protein, I’m satisfied and feel better.”

Favorite energy-boosting food: “I eat egg whites in some form almost every morning—breakfast sandwich, omelet, scrambled, you name it,” she says.

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Cindy Santa Ana, an integrative nutrition health coach in the DC area, said her afternoon slumps subsided when she cut back on carbs and sugar. “I started eating meals high in protein, fiber, and fat to keep my blood sugar balanced,” she says. “That also helped me shed 50 pounds!”

Favorite energy-boosting food: “Power salads,” which she creates by mixing 2 cups of greens, a cup of raw veggies, a protein (like grilled chicken, tuna, or hard-boiled eggs), and a healthy fat (like shredded cheese, sliced almonds, olives, or sunflower seeds), topped with homemade dressing.

MORE: 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar

By  Kara Wahlgren    January 13, 2017

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