ANNOUNCER: Life in the fast lane leaves many of us feeling too pooped to cross the finish line. The problem may be what we are using for fuel.
BONNIE TAUB-DIX, RD, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: If you sort of think about it as gasoline in a car, food is fuel. Calories are fuel. So if we don't have the proper fuel to go, then we're not going to go anywhere.
ANNOUNCER: Reaching for a big sugar fix when the tank is low can make for a bumpy ride.
BONNIE TAUB-DIX, RD, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: The reason why high-sugar foods are not going to actually give you energy in the long run is because they make your blood sugar levels soar and then you crash.
ANNOUNCER: Another big energy drain is skipping meals. You need a combination of carbohydrates and protein at regular intervals to maintain energy.
BONNIE TAUB-DIX, RD, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: That is really the ideal combination, because the carbohydrate gives you energy and wants to send your blood sugar up, but the protein doesn't let it crash down; it actually keeps you much more even.
ANNOUNCER: You should also avoid the half-pound cheeseburger and fries for lunch.
BONNIE TAUB-DIX, RD, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: If you want to talk about the number one energy zapper, it's overeating. So if you're looking to have more stamina during the course of the day, you need to eat a well-balanced diet; but a little bit of everything, not too much of anything.
ANNOUNCER: A pick-me-up is fine for those midmorning and midafternoon slumps, as long as it's the right snack.
BONNIE TAUB-DIX, RD, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: If you are going to look for energy, especially from a snack, then I would make it a combination of complex carbohydrates, whole-grain breads or cereals, in combination with some low-fat proteins. An idea of this could be something like low-fat cheese and crackers or even just a glass of milk.
ANNOUNCER: Finally, experts recommend getting enough sleep and exercise for the energy you need to cruise through the day.