If you are dragging through the day no matter how much sleep or rest you get, it could be your choice of food.
Having plenty of energy to keep up with the kids, work and personal life starts with your diet.
To get and keep your energy your body breaks down the food you eat into glucose (blood sugar) -- the body's main fuel -- and sends a steady stream of it to your cells.
To feel energized throughout the day, your blood glucose level should stay within a certain range. If your blood glucose spikes and drops too low you're going to feel lightheaded and lethargic. This happens when you rely on energy drinks for the quick pick up. Also, when you go too long without eating or you eat the wrong kinds of foods, your blood glucose can spike and drop, eventually causing the same symptoms.
Here are some ideas on how to eat for all-day energy and keep your blood glucose level stable.
Don't skip meals Not eating meals is one of the fastest routes to low blood sugar. If you skip breakfast, your ability to concentrate will likely suffer all morning. Skip lunch, and by 3 p.m. your energy level and concentration will inevitably crash. The reason: Your brain needs glucose to function. To keep your blood glucose from dipping, and zapping your physical and mental energy, eat three meals or six smaller meals a day consistently and don't go more than four hours without eating something.
Balance meals Make sure your meals include a mix of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain products, fresh vegetables and fruit, beans, lentils and other legumes, protein and some fat.
At breakfast, have whole grain waffles topped with fresh fruit, and a cup of organic plain yogurt.
At lunch, have a ham-and-cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread (this provides protein, fat and carbohydrate) and vegetables such as carrot, green pepper or celery sticks or a piece of fruit (all of these are mostly carbohydrate).
A combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat helps moderate carbohydrate absorption so your blood sugar rises gradually.
If you eat only carbohydrates, such as the fruit alone, your blood glucose level will rise and drop quickly, leaving you hungry and low on energy within an hour or two after you eat.
If you only eat protein, you'll get calories, but they won't kick in fast enough to make you feel energized when you need it..
Snack smart To counteract energy lulls you feel during the day, eat snacks that mix carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Good energy-sustaining snacks include low-fat plain yogurt with fresh fruit; cheese and crackers; an apple with peanut butter; and low-fat cookies, such as graham crackers or gingersnaps, and a glass of milk.
If you experience an energy low that makes you feel shaky or keeps you from focusing on your work, opt for a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as a whole-grain breakfast bar or a glass of chocolate milk or fruit juice.
Do not grab the sugary snack or energy drinks no matter how these are marketed as being "healthy." You will have a crash of energy and feel worse than before.