5 easy steps to take control of your energy levels

Running on empty? These small dietary tweaks can make a massive difference to how you feel each day.

Do you know anyone who is not tired? The pressures and demands of modern life can leave us feeling depleted of energy much of the time.

Dietitian Susie Burrell shares some easy steps to take if you could do with an energy boost.

1. Keep on top of your iron levels

With low iron levels extremely common in Aussie women, it is no wonder many of us feel less than our best each day.

Iron transports oxygen around the body, which is why fatigue and breathlessness are two common signs that your stores may be depleted.

If you eat red meat, enjoy small portions of lean red meat at least three to four every week.

This translates into at least two meat-based meals along with leftovers.

For non-meat eaters, choosing iron rich food such as eggs, wholegrains or legumes at each meal will help you to keep on top of your iron levels.

2. Focus on nutrient balance

In our quest for health and weight control, at times we can get a little strict with ourselves, especially in the carbs department.

For busy, active women though, an inadequate carbohydrate intake over time can result in energy fluctuations, cravings and fatigue.

Including both energy-rich carbs via fruits, starchy vegetables or wholegrains at each meal and snack will go a long way in regulating your energy throughout the day.

3. Prioritise meal times

For busy women, finding time to sit and enjoy a balanced meal throughout the day can be tough.

But eating regularly is crucial if the goal is to maintain energy levels throughout the day.

Think small, easy to eat, nutrient-rich options such as nut bars, smoothies, cheese and crackers, salmon and brown rice, or Greek yoghurt with fruit.

The average person will need at least three to four meals a day to maintain blood glucose control, control appetite and regulate energy levels.

4. Time your stimulants

One of the bad habits we can fall into when we are tired and in need of an energy boost is to reach for a diet soft drink, chocolate bar or energy drink for a quick hit of sugar and/or caffeine.

While these stimulants may help us to feel better in the short term, the downside is that 60 to 90 minutes later we are likely to experience a subsequent drop in energy after the effect of the stimulant has worn off.

A much better way to use these foods is to combine them with nutrients to support a sustained energy release over two to three hours.

Think milk coffee, dark chocolate with nuts or an energy snack bar with nuts or chocolate, rather than hits of sugar or caffeine on their own.

5. Just drink more water

The easiest yet often forgotten way to easily boost energy levels is to drink more water each day.

Many of us walk around chronically dehydrated, with coffee and energy drinks often taking the place of much-needed water.

The average adult needs at least 1.5L of fluid each day, which means getting through at least two bottles of water.

Written by Susie Burrell.