Spring is finally here! And if you’re like me, you’re probably emerging from a winter’s hibernation spent cuddled up early on the couch every night. But as the days get longer, and you find yourself staying active later and later every evening, you might also find you need a little more umph to get you through the day. And while it might be tempting to turn to excess caffeine or a sugar binge to get that little extra push, you might find more success with some of these other strategies that will give you more stable energy, without the infamous crash of blood sugar or caffeine.

Adequate Hydration. Studies show that even mild dehydration can wreak havoc on energy levels well before you begin to feel thirsty. While technically the recommended intake is 1 mL of water for every calorie you eat, I suggest drinking a full glass of water in the morning to wake up and another full glass with every meal. Sip water throughout the rest of the day too and you’ll be perfectly hydrated and feeling better for it!

Small, frequent meals. Eating smaller meals more often throughout the day can help keep your energy up because it helps to balance blood sugar swings. By keeping a steady stream of nutrients coming in, our bodies always have just the right amount of energy available and don’t crash in between more spread out meals.

Fruits and Veggies. Pound for pound, fruits and veggies are some of the most energizing foods out there. They provide an excellent source of carbohydrates, which fuel our bodies, but balance them with fiber to control how quickly sugars are absorbed, thus providing us with more sustained energy throughout the day. They’re also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like iron and magnesium, all of which are super important for our bodies’ ability to metabolize food and use it as efficiently as possible.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These super-food fats come from sources like fish, nuts, and seeds, and are vital for energy because they fight inflammation throughout the body, which studies have shown is a major contributor to chronic fatigue. Additionally, dietary fat helps absorb certain vitamins like A, D, and E, which are also important for maintaining energy levels.

Whole Grains. Like veggies and fruit, whole grains provide a great source of carbohydrates that are balanced out with fiber, thus giving a stable release of energy for the body. Plus, by including the outer layers of the “whole” grain, we retain vital nutrients like B-vitamins and minerals, all of which are crucial to our bodies’ ability to metabolize energy.

By Rick Elliott