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Instant Energizers

Fatigue-busting tips to boost your energy at work or the gym.

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A bowl of whole-grain cereal, fruit, and low-fat milk makes a quick, healthy breakfast. If you just don't have time to sit down, whip up a smoothie or grab a breakfast bar, banana, or yogurt.

3. Grab a (Balanced) Snack

A balanced snack could be exactly what you need to rev up your energy levels. But not any snack will do the trick: "Think carbohydrates and protein," says Moore.

Some foods, like fruit, are simple carbohydrates that are easily absorbed and result in a quick rise in blood sugar and energy. Fruit also has the benefit of containing water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But if you add some low-fat or lean protein to your fruit, you've got a snack that can provide a steady stream of energy for several hours.

Plan ahead and take along one or more of these energizing snacks:

  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Hummus (or other low-fat dip) and vegetables
  • String cheese (or any kind of low-fat cheese) and whole-grain crackers
  • 100-calorie packs of popcorn, crackers, or simple cookies
  • Sugar-free cocoa with an added splash of skim milk
  • Rice cakes with nut butter
  • Low-fat yogurt and fruit
  • Hard-boiled egg and a glass of juice
  • Glass of skim milk and graham crackers
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Low-sugar granola or cereal bar
  • Mini whole-wheat bagel and soft cheese
  • Trail mix of dried fruit and nuts

Of course, snacks also add calories. Keep your portions small, so you'll get the energy boost without weight gain.

4. Eat Before You Exercise

After a long day of work or a long night's rest, you need an energy boost before heading to the gym.

"The best pre- and postworkout snacks contain low-fat protein and carbohydrate," says Moore.

Protein helps your body repair muscle tissue, and carbohydrates give you fuel to help your body perform the physical activity and replenish blood glucose afterward.

"Make sure the foods you eat before working out are easily digested," says O'Neil, who recommends keeping the snack small.

Also, don't forget to drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity. O'Neil also recommends drinking an enhanced water or a small container of sports drink, to help keep you hydrated and give you a bit of sugar for energy.

Here are some healthy snacks for before or after a workout:

  • Low-fat yogurt and whole-grain cereal or crackers
  • Small container of natural applesauce and a handful of nuts
  • Bananas, to provide quick energy plus potassium for muscles
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • A fruit smoothie
  • Low-fat cheese and a piece of fruit
  • Whole-grain toast with nut butter

5. Get Moving

One reason your energy is flagging at work could be the fact that you've been sitting in the same chair hour after hour, without moving much more than your fingers.

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