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Fuel Up With the Best Energizing Foods

Moms, the next time you feel like you're running on fumes, skip the quick fixes! Instead, use these tips to fuel up with energizing foods that will sustain you throughout the day -- whether you're changing a fussy baby, chasing a screaming toddler or chauffeuring a busy teen.

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Start with the source.

"The cleanest form of energy is derived from the right balance of lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates in your diet," says food energy expert Kristen Bocanegra, founder of Momme Meals and creator of GoChews whole food energy snacks.

Protein helps you feel fuller longer, and lean protein contains lower overall fat and saturated fat content. Lean protein sources include:

  • Beans & legumes

  • Eggs

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Lean ground beef

  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy

  • Nuts, nut butters & seeds

  • Pork loin

  • Skinless white meat poultry

  • Tofu and other soy foods


Pan Roasted Salmon with Fresh Onion and Fennel Salad
Photography by: Johnny Miller
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Healthy (polysaturated & monosaturated) fats are the "good" fats are known to help improve cholesterol levels and vitamin absorption, promote cell development and maintain a healthy immune system. Look for healthy fats in energizing foods such as:

  • Avocados

  • Coconut

  • Coconut oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil

  • Flaxseed

  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine and walnuts

  • Salmon, sardines, trout and tuna

  • Seeds: chia, flax, pumpkin, hemp, sesame and sunflower


Homemade Almond Butter

Complex carbohydrates consist of sugars that are strung together in long complex chains and contain fiber as well as vitamins and minerals.

The longer chain sugar and fiber play a key role in slowing the digestive process allowing for a more steady release of sugars into the bloodstream, which ultimately results in sustainable energy, as opposed to a quick jolt of energy and subsequent crash. You'll find complex carbohydrates in:

  • Fresh fruits and veggies

  • Dried Fruits (sun-dried and free of sulfites and added sugars)

  • Legumes, nuts and seeds

  • Whole grains


Mediterranean Grain Salad
Photography by: Christopher Baker

Choose whole food ingredients.

Make recipes that call for whole food ingredients. For prepared foods and sauces, choose those that are made with only whole food ingredients that you would find in your pantry.



Black Rice Stir Fry
Photography by: Christina Holmes
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Buy seasonal ingredients.

Seasonal ingredients are not only less expensive, but they are more nutritious than their out-of-season counterparts. In-season fruits and veggies also have a delicious taste like no other!



Warm Quinoa and Chicken Salad
Photography by: Romulo Yanes

Don't skip meals.

Skipping meals is all-too-common among moms, but doing so or not offering your system healthy snacks in between meals can lower your glycemic index and leave you feeling sluggish. Always get the day off to a great start with a well-balanced breakfast.

During the day, snack on dried fruits and nuts; fresh fruits like apples, pears, and oranges; small bowls of hummus with veggies; Greek yogurt with oats and seasonal fruit; hard boiled eggs; or whole grain toast with avocado.



Avocado Coconut Toast

Eat iron-rich foods too.

While iron on its own will not give your body energy, an iron deficiency can cause fatigue. Be sure to incorporate as many iron-rich foods into your diet as you can and pair them with Vitamin C-rich foods to aid in your body's iron absorption. You'll find good sources of iron in foods such as:

  • Fruits and veggies: arugula, asparagus, beet greens, berries, broccoli, coconut, dried apricots, kale, leeks, olives, mushrooms, peas, Swiss chard and spinach

  • Legumes, nuts and seeds: chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds and white beans

  • Meat: beef or chicken liver, cooked beef or turkey

  • Seafood: clams, mussels, oysters and sardines


Bulgur with Roasted Red Peppers, Chickpeas, and Spinach

Keep the bad guys in check.

Refined sugars, sugary sodas and candies are a no-go if you're looking to keep your energy level high throughout the day. Other stimulants like caffeine, over the course of a day, can cause energy depletion.

Of course, if you can't imagine life without your favorite latte -- don't. Just be sure to enjoy it in moderation. For a healthier alternative, try Martha's matcha tea latte recipe!


Wondering how you can eat the energy-rich foods you need and feed your family too with the same meals? Read "The 10 Golden Rules of Family Meal Planning" to learn how you can do it all and still have energy (and time!) to spare.



Hot or Iced Matcha Tea Latte