Monday, 7 March 2016

How to Keep Up Your Energy Levels at Work

   We all know what it's like: come 4pm that energy slump kicks in and our screens start to get a little blurry, eyelids a little heavy and our chairs all of a sudden begin to feel a lot more comfortable than usual. Now would be a great time to have a little afternoon nap but, of course, that would be a sure fire way to get a disciplinary - so how can we avoid that snoozy feeling and keep our energy levels up throughout the working day?

   If you're in good health and get a reasonable amount of sleep each night (and by reasonable, I mean an average of 7 hours) your energy levels are usually based on what you eat - or don't eat. Succumbed to a greasy fast-food takeaway for lunch? Skipped breakfast? Knocked back a few energy drinks? You're probably going to feel the effects later in the day. A few small changes in your diet can make a huge difference; so it's time to swap out those saturated fats, refined wheats and sugary drinks for foods which support sustained energy!


What to Eat

   British Dietician and Nutritionist, Dr Sarah Schenker, has identified several foods which possess the perfect attributes to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. These foods deliver slow-release energy, leaving you fuller for longer and less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. These are:

Edamame Beans
Wholegrain Basmati
Cucumber
Spinach
Chia Seeds
Oranges
Nut Butter
Broccoli 
Oats 
Almonds
Limes
Lamb

   Combine any of these to create your perfect meal - with your favourite seasoning, of course - and you're so much more likely to stay alert and perform well, not just during working hours, but well into the evening. Pop a few of these ingredients into your basket next time you go shopping, and see what you could create! To get you started, here are a few quick recipe ideas:


Breakfast

   It's the most important meal of the day, so why not make it super tasty as well as energising? This recipe for Yoghurt Rice with Oranges and Almonds is an exotic, fruity and sweet bowl of goodness:

Serves 2

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins

Ingredients
1 large orange
1 tsp of dark molasses sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tbsp almond flakes

Method
1.    Heat a pouch of Tilda Pure Basmati rice according to the packet instructions, transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool
2.    Peel and thinly slice the orange, place the segments on a plate, sprinkle with the molasses sugar and allow it to melt in
3.    Stir the cinnamon in to the yogurt and then gently fold through the rice.  Add the slices of orange and sprinkle the almond flakes over the top

Lunch/Dinner

   Now for a dish that is sure to fill a whole in the middle of the day or, even, as a delicious evening meal after work. Craving savoury? Try this mouthwatering Edamame, Broccoli and Cashew Nut Stir-Fry:

Serves 2

Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients
50g cashew nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
200g edamame (frozen soya beans)
200g broccoli, cut into florets
1 garlic clove, chopped
1⁄2 red chili, chopped
2 heads of pak choi
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Juice of half a lime

Method
1.    Cook the rice according to the pack instructions
2.    Meanwhile, dry fry the cashew nuts in a small pan for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted.  Stir continuously to stop them from burning
3.    Bring a small pan of water to the boil and add the edamame/soya beans, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside
4.    Heat the olive oil in a wok, add the broccoli and fry for 2-3 minutes, until starting to soften. Then add the garlic, chilli, beans and pak choi and fry for another 2 minutes
5.    Season with the soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice and fry for 2 minutes. The broccoli should be tender now.  Drain the rice and stir through
6.    Scatter some final cashew nuts over the top to serve

Snack

Put down the chocolate bar and reach for one of these Nut Butter and Rice Balls when you get peckish - you won't regret it!:

Makes 12-16 balls

Preparation time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 2 mins

Ingredients
4 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp ground flaxeed
2 tbsp coconut flakes

Method
1.    Heat a pouch of Tilda Pure Basmati according to the instructions
2.    In another large bowl, cream together peanut butter, honey and stir in vanilla extract
3.    To this bowl, stir in ground flaxseed, coconut flakes and hot rice
4.    Stir until well combined; the mixture should be thick and sticky
5.    Use a spoon to scoop out even amounts and roll into balls
6.    Store in an airtight container in the fridge
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