Fight Fatigue With These Healthy Plant-Based Meals
If you’re one of the chosen few who are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all day, every day, well, the rest of us hate you. (Okay, we’re kidding. Mostly.) But in all seriousness, we’ve all gone through at least a few days in our lives where we struggle to fight fatigue and make it through the day without KO’ing at our desks.
In fact, 84% of people report struggling with daytime sleepiness. Some of us can blame our heavy eyes on our all-nighter Netflix binge, but others feel tired because they’re not getting the right fuel. Knowing which foods contain energy-boosting nutrients can help you fight fatigue — especially if you follow a plant-based diet.
Here’s what to eat (and what to avoid) to fight fatigue and keep your batteries charged throughout the day.
Foods That Cause Fatigue
The first step to fight fatigue is to eliminate (or at least moderate) the foods that cause it. If you don’t want your eyelids to start drooping halfway through your workday, here’s what to avoid.
— Refined carbohydrates. In other words, white flour, white rice, and added sugars. Refined carbs have a high glycemic load, which means they cause a rapid spike in energy followed by a crash.
— Fried foods. Anyone who’s tried to sit through a meeting after a greasy fast food lunch can tell you fried foods absolutely wreck your energy levels. They contain an absurd amount of fat, which slows down digestion and makes you feel sluggish and bloated.
— Caffeine. While there are benefits to drinking caffeine in the morning, studies show that drinking it later in the day can disrupt your sleep. Try to confine your seven cups of coffee to the morning (or better yet, maybe cut down on your caffeine intake a bit).
There’s nothing wrong with eating fast food or treating yourself with a sugary treat every now and then, but the key is to limit these fatigue-causing foods and load up on fatigue-fighting ones when you can.
Nutrients That Fight Fatigue
Your body is a super complex machine that requires a variety of ingredients to keep it running. Here’s a list of nutrients that help fight fatigue.
— Complex carbs. According to Mayo Clinic, complex carbs provide high-quality, long-lasting energy and should be your main source of fuel. Whole grains, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are outstanding carb sources.
— Vitamin B12. A vitamin-rich diet is vital for health and well-being. If you eat a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, you don’t have to worry about most vitamins. However, vitamin B12 can be a challenge to get on a plant-based diet. Shiitake mushrooms and nutritional yeast are great vitamin B12 sources.
— Protein. Protein plays an important role in making you feel satisfied after meals and keeping your energy levels high. Incorporate quinoa, legumes, nuts, tofu, and tempeh into your meals to up your protein intake.
— Minerals. A variety of minerals are required to keep the body running. The ones that affect your energy levels the most are iron, zinc, and magnesium. Nuts and legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) are loaded with all three.
Ingredients are the building blocks of a good, healthy meal. Once you know what your body needs, you can start getting creative by experimenting with new meals to fight fatigue.
Meals That Fight Fatigue
One of the best ways to fight fatigue is to make sure you're eating a balanced diet. Any dish that contains lots of healthy carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals will raise your energy levels. Here are a few our favorite high-energy meals:
— Lentil soup over brown rice. Lentils are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, and B vitamins, according to WebMD. Lentil soup is best served on a bed of energy-packed brown rice. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt for added protein.
— Hummus and pita chips. Like all legumes, chickpeas have lots of minerals and protein. Whole wheat pita chips are easy to make, delicious, and full of complex carbs.
— Avocado-quinoa salad. Quinoa is one of the best plant-based protein sources, and avocados have lots of magnesium and omega-3s. Top it off with your favorite dressing, and consider adding chickpeas or pine nuts for extra iron and zinc.
— Tempeh stir fry. Tempeh is among the best plant-based sources of zinc and protein. Adding mushrooms and nori will give it a delicious, salty-savory flavor and enrich it with vitamin B12.
You don’t have to run yourself into the ground making fresh, healthy meals every single day. Use all that extra energy you’ll have batch-prepping foods like quinoa, wild rice, and hummus, then divide it among several containers so your meals for the week are ready to grab on the go.
Snacks That Fight Fatigue
Even the best fatigue-fighting foods will only last you so long. If you find your energy dipping between meals, you should refuel with some healthy, high-energy snacks.
Outstanding Foods snacks are just what you need when you feel that mid-afternoon energy dip. Our Puffs, Pig Out Crunchies, and dairy-free Cheese Balls protein, complex carbs, and energizing vitamins and minerals. Not to mention they’re delicious!
Visit our store today to find healthy plant-based snacks that will help you fight fatigue!