Low energy is something many people have to deal with. With all of our daily obligations, it can be hard to stay wide awake and refreshed through it all.
You may need a few more hours in bed, but you can also add some energising meals to your menu plan.
These meals contain an optimal combination of healthy fats, carbs, and protein and will fuel you through just about anything. And they taste great too.
In an interview with dietitian Mbali Mapholi, of Mbali Mapholi Inc, on how to combat tiredness through food, she said that it was important to choose more sustainable and nourishing foods such as whole grains, a variety of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and lean protein.
“Some foods contain empty calories, meaning that they have energy but it is not accompanied by essential nutrients, eg fibre.
These foods cause quick spikes in blood sugar levels resulting in high energy levels, but these energy levels are not sustained for long, resulting in a crash. What goes up must come down,” said Mapholi.
Below are energy-boosting lunch recipes you can try.
’Kebab’ pita pockets
4-5 pita pockets
1 packet spiced vegan ’kebab’ pieces
Green pitted olives, sliced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Red onion, finely chopped
Vegan garlic and onion dip
Heat some oil in a pan and add the kebab pieces. Cook until slightly charred.
Heat pita pockets in the oven or toaster for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble pita pockets by slicing them open and adding desired ingredients.
Cold chopped quinoa salad with eggs
⅔ cup quinoa, dry (or 2 cups cooked)
8 large eggs
4 medium carrots
1 long English cucumber
1 large pomegranate
2 cups parsley, fresh
1 large lemon, juiced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: cubed avocado, feta cheese
Start by preparing the quinoa on the stove. Add ⅔ cup dry quinoa with 1 plus ⅓ cup water.
Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
Next, hard-boil the eggs. Place the eggs in a saucepan and add water (just enough to cover the eggs).
Cover the saucepan with a lid, heat the stove on high, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the eggs cook for 10 minutes.
Once 10 minutes are up, drain the eggs and let them sit in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Meanwhile, chop up the veggies into small pieces and roughly chop the parsley.
Remove the pomegranate arils from the fruit and set everything aside. You can remove the eggshells at this point too and quarter the hard-boiled eggs.
When the quinoa is done, add it to a large mixing bowl along with the chopped vegetables, pomegranate, and parsley.
Add olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mix everything well.
Serve quinoa salad and top with hard-boiled eggs, using 2 eggs per serving. If you like, you can add some avocado chunks or crumbled feta cheese at this point too.
Salmon with creamy garlic spinach
2-3tbs olive oil
2 pieces salmon fillets
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup vegetable broth
¼tsp red pepper flakes
Fresh spinach leaves
1tbs flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Pat your salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until shimmering. Be careful that it doesn’t smoke.
You want your pan to be hot so the salmon doesn’t stick to it and it gets nice and crispy.
Add salmon, skin side down first, and sear for 3 minutes, until brown and crispy.
Flip and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of your salmon.
Remove the salmon from your pan, cover and set aside.
If there’s a lot of excess oil in the pan, I prefer to wipe it with a paper towel.
Add the butter along with the garlic and shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Then add vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, and cream, bringing everything to a low simmer.
Stir constantly until the sauce thickens and reduces a little bit. Add your spinach and stir until slightly wilted, 3-4 minutes.
Season the spinach with salt and pepper to taste.
Place creamed spinach on the plate and top with crispy salmon (you can remove the skin if you like). Top with parsley.