7 Fantastic Foods that can Really Boost Your Mood and Energy Levels Naturally

0-80

Blog Title Image (946 x 624)

 

Sometimes you can just really feel flat, would you agree? When it’s like you’re not in the mood to do anything at all. Everyone feels like this at some point, but for some it may be a persistent feeling that doesn’t really make you feel good at all. It may also rear its ugly head when you can’t afford it, such as when you need to get that project done in order to meet the deadline.

A picture of a woman taking a nap on a sofa

So what can you do for a quick and simple pick me up?

Well by simply trying any of these foods, they should really help boost energy and mood levels naturally, especially when you desperately need it:

The 7 Foods that Can Boost Energy and Mood Levels Naturally

C_dzghYW0AQJbJ4

  1. Fresh fruits. Fruits tend to make for great breakfasts and snacks. They contain natural sugar that can really perk you right back up. Apples and Bananas in particular are great fruits to eat if you need a natural lift.

4442d1ecd016

If you’re into doing healthy juice cleanses, then fruits also make for fabulous juices and smoothies, which are very convenient in the morning. Blueberries aren’t just healthy, but they can help you focus on your tasks. You can also put in strawberries in your blender, as they taste terrific and their high vitamin C content will help your body convert fat cells into energy.

Tropical fruits such as pineapple are also great, as they contain iodine which helps regulate how quickly your body burns up the energy. With fruits like pineapple, you get energy for the whole day, and not just for a few minutes.

  1. Nuts. Have a packet of almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews on your desk as you work. They taste great, but they also provide lots of magnesium that your body uses to convert your sugar intake into energy.

5-nuts-that-can-revolutionize-your-diet-header-v2-830x467

They also contain fiber to maintain your blood sugar levels, as well as protein so you don’t feel hungry right away.

  1. Dark chocolate. It’s not a cliché for nothing that many people in a bad mood use chocolate to cope. That’s because the taste is heavenly, of course. Also, it contains a stimulant called theobromine that resembles caffeine, so it really boosts your mood and your energy. But it doesn’t contain caffeine at all.

dark-chocolate

In fact, many US soldiers in WWII had chocolate bars as part of their meal rations. Just make sure you get the dark kind, mind you. Milk chocolate isn’t as healthy, as the milk messes with how your body absorbs the antioxidants in the chocolate.

Make sure to stay away from white chocolate since it doesn’t help with blood pressure and will spike insulin sensitivity which you certainly don’t want.

  1.  Asparagus. Veggies are always good for you, but this particular vegetable works well for a pick-upper for lunch when you seem to need to doze off in the afternoon.

asparagus-for-baby

That’s because it contains tryptophan that helps with the production of serotonin, which is one of the brain’s main neurotransmitters that regulate your mood. It contains folate too, and this also helps elevate your mood.

It also has lots of B vitamins that work to turn the carb in your food into glucose that your body uses as energy fuel. It also has lots of fiber that keeps your blood sugar levels steady.

So when you’re eating a healthy salad for lunch, you may want to get fresh asparagus as part of your meal if they’re in season. They’ll help you through the afternoon without the absolute need for a long siesta.

  1. Sauerkraut. Some people like it with their hot dogs and bratwurst for the taste, but that’s not the only thing going for it. That’s because this fermented cabbage is loaded with probiotics, which really helps your gut digest your food much more efficiently.

Sauerkraut

You may be feeling tired because your energy is spent mostly on digesting your food, so you don’t have much energy left. Since the sauerkraut leads to more efficient digestion, you don’t need as much energy for the task so you get more energy for everything else.

  1. Eggs. Haven’t you ever wondered why so many people insist on eggs for their breakfasts all over the world? It’s not just for the taste and for the varied ways you can prepare it. It’s actually a proven energy source for the whole day.

0-80

Eggs come with high amounts of protein and iron. What’s more, they have the B vitamins that help turn food into energy.

  1. Whole grain toast. No list of energy food is complete without mentioning carbohydrates, as these make up as much as 60% of the energy the body needs to actually function. But there’s good carb and bad carb, and for good carbs you want whole grain toast.

Piece-of-toast

Whole grain toast offer good carbs because the complex carbs they provide come with lots of vitamins and minerals. Whole grains prevent surges in your blood sugar the next time you eat, which then leads to fewer instances of the dreaded sugar energy crashes. These crashes happen more often when you eat or drink refined carbs, which you find in super-processed foods and sugary confections.

So the next time you have a sandwich for breakfast, use whole grain toast (with egg). In the afternoon, you can also snack on granola bars or whole grain crackers. These will give you the healthy energy boosts you want so that you get the energy you need for work or household chores.

 

You may have noticed that we left out coffee and other caffeinated drinks on this list. That’s a deliberate omission, since too much coffee during the day isn’t really good for you in the long run.

Coffee cup on grey background (seen from above)

Coffee cup on grey background (seen from above)

Not only do you become an addict to the stuff, but it also leads to rather restless nights when your sleep patterns get messed up. And when you don’t get enough good sleep at night, you wake up tired and moody the next day.

So take the items we put on this list instead. You’ll be chipper in no time, and you’ll feel a lot better!

Joana is the editor in chief over at The Juice Chief. She’s a prolific blogger with a bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition and is deeply passionate about organic juicing, nutrition and fitness. She also loves helping others succeed with their health goals.

 

 

Easy & Tasty, High Protein Veggie Nuggets | www.4hourbodygirl.com

Delicious, Healthy Low Carb Alternatives

4f0bf0f40befaf3906223cf179229b30e376695f

Delicious, Healthy Low Carb Alternatives

eating-pasta-628x363

During the colder months of the year, many of us tend to overload on carbs. Why? Because mac and cheese is delicious and makes us feel warm on the inside even when we are frosty on the outside!

But these carb heavy dishes can leave you grumpy and tired.  Now that the winter months are behind us and spring has sprung, it is a great time to try lighter fresher dishes, without compromising on flavor.

That’s why I have taken some of the most notable carb heavy foods and offer you delicious, healthy low-carb alternatives.

DSC_0911

#1 – Baked Carrot Fries

Time to toss out the traditional french fries and sub in a slightly sweet, healthy alternative.

When carrots are baked, they taste surprisingly similar to our good friend Mr sweet potato. Rich with beta-carotene, these carrot fries work as a side that complements a number of dishes.  They also taste great on their own.

To make them, simply chop up some carrots into sticks. Then toss them in some salt and pepper and bake. If you want to add some spice into your life, you can always add some of your favorites like chili flakes or garlic to ramp up the flavor.

Eggplant-Lasagna_14018

#2 – Eggplant Lasagne

Whether you’re an eggplant lover or hater, this dish can please even the most critical of pallets. My husband hates eggplant, yet put this in front of him and you will never see a cleaner plate!

We all know lasagne is a great family favorite we can all tuck into at the dinner table. Yet the traditional pasta packed version is ladened with carbs that can leave you feeling sluggish.

This dish swaps out the pasta sheets for slices of eggplant while keeping everything else to maintain that traditional italian flavor. It’s also incredibly versatile. Peel or no peel, thick or thin slices. Whatever takes your fancy can allow you to make this your signature one at your next carb-free dinner party.

IMG_8759

#3 – Cauliflower ‘mac and cheese’

Yet another pasta-ladened favorite. Who doesn’t love a bowl of warm and comforting mac and cheese?

One way to skip on the carbs is to sub out the macaroni for boiled cauliflower! That’s right, boil up a full head of our favorite white veggie, whisk up your number 1 cheese sauce, mix it together and throw it all in the oven to bake. Cauliflower and Pepper Jack anyone?

fa8fcd970c9e40f35d51a068d4bb8211

#4 – Portobello Pizzas

Pizza is probably my favorite all time treat. If calories didn’t exist I could eat it for every meal of every day and never get bored.

From that traditional Italian sauce, the sweet mozzarella to an endless list of toppings, pizza never gets old. I even once took a pre-made pizza base and made a chocolate orange pizza and yes, it was awesome.

So if you’re a pizza lover like me but your new healthy carb free diet won’t allow you favorite meal, you can try this amazing alternative where you swap out a pizza base for a portobello mushroom!

Simply drizzle the mushroom caps with some olive oil, add some tomato sauce and cheese (plus as many toppings as your mushroom will allow) and bake. It doesn’t get easier than that.

taco_lettuce_wraps_3

#5 – Taco Lettuce Wraps

Who doesn’t love taco night? But don’t worry, you don’t need to skip this family fun treat just because you’re going carb free.

The truth is, you can turn pretty much any sandwich into a lettuce wrap. Therefore, enjoy taco night by switching out the shells for iceberg lettuce. Add in some juicy turkey, sweet salsa and your favorite taco toppings and you’ll never know the difference.

4f0bf0f40befaf3906223cf179229b30e376695f

#6 – Cauliflower Rice

Is it just me, or do all the best dishes include a side of rice? From a traditional Chinese sweet and sour to a spicy Indian curry to good old Mexican chili, it can sometimes feel like all your favorite foods are a no-go when you cut carbs from the menu.

That’s why this side dish could be a total meal saver. Simply whiz up some raw cauliflower in a food processor until it has a fine rice-like consistency. Then lightly fry in a saucepan with some coconut oil, sweet onion, salt and pepper and add to your favorite dish.

 

Final Thoughts

Going carb free on your diet has a number of advantages both for your overall health and weight loss.

But saying goodbye to carbs doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all your favorite dishes. With some simple swaps, you can still enjoy the meals you love without the downsides carbs bring to the table.

 

Easy & Tasty, High Protein Veggie Nuggets | www.4hourbodygirl.com