Energy: 5 Simple Hacks for More Time & Energy
By Mia Syn, MS, RDN
Let’s face it, life can become an endless cycle of school, work, errands, and obligations. It’s easy to reach burnout! Luckily, there are a few simple hacks to free up more time and keep energy levels high. Hint: diet plays a key role!
1. Meal prep for one hour each week
As a registered dietitian, the number one excuse I hear from clients when it comes to following a healthy diet is not having enough time. The truth is, all you need is about an hour per week to set yourself up for success.
I recommend a buffet-style way of meal prepping centered around nutrient-dense foods that provide fiber, protein and vitamins and minerals to give you the nutrients your body needs and the energy to help keep you going. (1). At the beginning of the week, prepare vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to mix and match for meals. Eating nutritionally balanced meals instead of getting takeout in a pinch will do wonders for your energy levels (and your wallet!).
2. Hack your way healthy
Sticking to a healthy diet often comes to “out sight, out of mind.” When you have healthy options readily available like sliced veggies and hummus in your work fridge and raw nuts and fruit in your purse, you are much less likely to run to the vending machine on your snack break. This is what I call “hacking your way healthy” – setting up systems for yourself to make healthy choices when “hanger” hits. A candy bar does not deliver the same nutritious energy as nuts, fruit, or veggies and hummus.
3. Drink up: Don’t forget the fluids!
Drinking enough water can do wonders for energy levels. In fact, fatigue is one of the first telltale signs of mild dehydration. Adults should aim for 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water per day (3). Not a big water drinker? The good news is that this number also includes fluids in the foods we eat (think, fresh produce and yogurt) and other beverages we consume including coffee, smoothies, and green juice. The Naked Juice Green Machine can help meet your daily water needs and is an easy way to get in nutrition quickly. It is a no sugar added blend of five fruit juices, making it a good source of vitamins and minerals.
4. Exercise: It’s a myth that exercise drains your energy
In fact, it does the opposite! Getting your heart rate up through exercise helps circulate oxygen and causes your body to release two stress hormones that, in modest amounts, can help you feel energized (1). And no, you don’t need an intense workout to reap these benefits. Even a brisk walk can get the job done!
5. Recharge your internal batteries
When on an airplane, you are told to “put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” This is a metaphor for life. Taking care of yourself first will allow you to be more efficient with your time and refresh your energy stores. You don’t need to go to the spa or a tropical vacation to recharge your internal batteries. Whether it is reading a book, taking a long bath, getting enough sleep, or going for a hike in nature – be sure to make time for whatever it is that restores you.