During teatime, it’s tempting to reach for a soft drink or packet of crisps to perk yourself up. Well, don’t. Though sugary, carb-laden foods will give you a spike in energy, this is usually followed by a sudden dip, making you feel even more tired than before.
Go for snacks and beverages that are rich in carbs and fibre instead. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice with pulp, for instance, has sugars and fibre, and has a low glycaemic index, which means that energy is released slowly into your system, keeping you powered up for longer. Try these to keep you going throughout the day.
A glass of low-fat milk (200ml) with high-fibre cereal (40g)
This can boost your energy for two to three hours. Look for cereals with at least 4g of fibre per serving, and less than 20g of sugar per 100g. Skip those covered in honey, chocolate or yogurt.
A glass of orange juice (250ml) and a handful of raisins (30g)
These pack loads of energy as they are rich in carbs (mainly fructose) and have a low glycaemic index.
A slice of honeydew melon
This has both carbs and fibre. You can swop it for any other serving of fresh fruit – say, a medium-sized apple or 10 to 15 grapes.
A glass of soya milk
Soy beans have proteins to boost alertness. Look for those that are fortified with calcium and don’t have added sugar.
A slice of wholegrain bread with low-fat cream cheese spread (one tablespoon)
The cheese is a good source of lean protein, and the wholegrain bread has a low glycaemic index.
Some low-fat yoghurt (150g) and muesli (two tablespoons)
The natural sugars in both foods will give you a burst of energy. This contains only 200kcal – considered low for a snack.
These have a good combo of carbs and fibre. Low-sugar options are best, but whatever type of biscuit you choose, keep them under 100kcal per serving.
Stay away from…
- Sugary drinks
Cola, iced lemon tea with syrup or canned drinks will lead to a spike in sugar levels, followed by a sudden dip, leaving you listless.
- Curry puffs
Fatty foods like these take a longer time to digest and will leave you sluggish.
- Muesli bars
They’re usually sugar-laden, giving you a temporary energy boost. If you must have them, go for healthier options with less than 10g of sugar per 100g.
- Potato chips
Eating too much carbs causes your body to release more serotonin, which makes you sleepy.
It keeps you alert for short periods, but if you’re very tired, you’ll remain sluggish no matter how much coffee you drink. Too much may even give you a headache.
It contains sugar and and fat, both of which are bad for you.
Expert sources: Jaclyn Reutens and Fahmi Sunarja
This story was originally published in the December 2013 issue of Her World.