For many, life can turn into a juggling act and, soon enough, shortcuts and easy outs turn into the solution. It’s time for a new approach. When it comes to your energy levels, it’s important to maintain them through healthy, not speedy, ways. Oftentimes during a long workday, you can run into the mid-afternoon slump. Eyes become droopy, yawning occurs every few minutes and time seems to be standing still. Fight off that fatigue and follow these tips, including advice from Cincinnati dietitian Lisa Andrews. 

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
It is important to drink plenty of water, especially this time of year. Not only does water keep your body hydrated, but it also maintains blood pressure. According to Andrews, even mild dehydration may lead to fatigue, reduced concentration and irritability. Vasopressin is a hormone that is produced as a result of dehydration, and it causes the kidneys to retain water and prompts the liver to produce blood sugar, which could lead to elevated blood-glucose levels. Though she admits that a cup of coffee in the morning is OK, she advises that there shouldn’t be dozens more that follow. Caffeine also dehydrates the body, so for every cup of coffee consumed, two cups of water should be consumed as well. It is also suggested not to drink coffee in the afternoon as this could cause problems with sleep later on at night, “Caffeine gives you that jolt, but then you crash. It’s OK in the morning, but the day turns into an energy rollercoaster,” says Andrews. 

Get Moving
After hours and hours of sitting still and staring at a computer screen, your body needs a break. If not, this can put you at risk for heart disease. It is best to get up and step away from your desk about every hour for five minutes.  This gives your eyes a break from the screen and it gets the blood moving. With the movement of blood, the heart gets pumping, resulting in more energy that your body can use. Try getting up and getting a cup of water or moving around the office every so often. It is also good to go outside for some fresh air and natural light. This will help clear your mind and provide some vitamin D. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, enjoy your meal outside.

Include Nutrients
Andrews refers to donuts as, “a crispy crime.” Donuts are loaded with sugars and calories. They don’t contain any vitamins, fibers or proteins—the types of nutrients that your body depends on for repair and to fuel your brain. When it comes to your diet, you want to make sure that it does not include a lot of processed foods, advises Andrews. These foods are made of simple carbohydrates. In this case, simple does not mean good. These carbohydrates are digested rapidly and don’t keep you feeling full for a long period of time. Instead, include complex carbohydrates into your diet so that these foods are digested more slowly and blood sugar levels do not rise as rapidly. Triscuits and Wheat Thins are two snacks that you can munch on during the day that are beneficial because they are high in protein. Foods with high fiber content are also recommended. Read about each essential nutrient and learn more at Livestrong.  

Watch Out for These Mistakes
Rule number one: be sure to consume the recommended daily intake. Women are recommended to take in 400 calories per meal and men to have 500, those this fluctuates depending on age, height and activity level. Also, eating should not occur every two hours. This causes insulin levels to rise. Insulin stores more fat and over time, insulin resistance can ensue, which may lead to heart disease or diabetes. To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended to eat between three or five hours at the most. Even though there are diets that turn food into liquids, Andews recommends not drinking your meals. Smoothies may seem like a healthy alternative for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they don’t work in ways that turn off hunger. In fact, smoothies are recommended for weight gain. As Andrews likes to say,” If you have teeth and an intestine, make sure to do your digestion.” Don’t go home after work and find yourself raiding the pantry. It’s common to feel hungry by this time, but make sure not to overeat in order to give your brain a break. A light snack eaten on your way home could help stave off your hunger. For more nutritional advice that could impact your energy throughout the day, visit soundbitesnutrition.com to find out more from Lisa Andrews.