Ole Man Winter has taken his sweet time getting out of here this year challenging even the most complacent weather watchers. But, last night I finally heard it - the beautiful trill of the Spring Peeper frogs. If you’re not from North Carolina or parts nearby, you may be unfamiliar with this phenomenon. It’s a high pitched chorus of the sweetest sound as it often designates that winter is coming to an end and warm weather is approaching (at least that’s what it means to me). Last night the Spring Peeper frogs performed an extraordinary symphony in high volume as they, along with us, celebrated the melted snow and the warm temps that blessed us the past few days.
Here’s a snippet of their performance for those of you who are nature music lovers.
We still may have a few more weeks of Winter to endure, but Spring is on the horizon. So, it’s a good time to shed your hibernation mentality and boost your energy for the warm months ahead. With these simple strategies, you can add extra pep to your day no matter what’s going on outside.
Tip #1 – Anchor all of your feedings
This means, whenever you eat, include a lean protein, healthy fat and nutrient-dense carbohydrate in your meal or snack. These 3 macronutrients digest at different rates so when eaten together, they provide a slow, sustained release of glucose into your bloodstream giving you hours of energy. In the US, many of our meals and snacks are very carb heavy which gives you a short energy boost followed by a quick energy drop. Not the best way to fuel for the long term.
So, make it a goal to avoid carb-only meals and snacks. The exception would be if you’re about to do a workout or endurance event. Then carbs-only is appropriate to fuel you for the next hour or so.
Tip #2 – Clean up your carbs
Are you a sugar addict? If yes, you can bet this is contributing to energy drain (though that may seem counterintuitive). Commit to getting sugar and white processed carbs out of your eating plan. Or at least, reduce them to a minimum. An occasional splurge of a sweet or savory treat is not a problem but a daily diet of chips, white bread and crackers, cookies, candies, soft drinks, sweet tea and more can wreak havoc on your energy level and blood glucose.
Assess your current eating plan and determine how many of these energy robbing items you eat daily. Then begin replacing them, one by one, with healthier options.
Here are a few examples:
Tip #3 – Start your day with protein
After a night of sleep and fasting, our energy gas tank is empty. Breakfast is a critical meal for refueling your tank to provide energy for the coming day. Unfortunately, many breakfast foods and traditions are high in sugar and white processed carbohydrates. Dumping these foods into our systems first thing in the morning is like putting diesel fuel in a regular gas tank. We’re asking for trouble and paving the way for a huge energy drain in about 1-2 hours.
If you’re a high carb breakfast person, consider changing up your tradition and include a healthy protein source in your a.m. meal. Give it a try and notice the difference this makes in your satiety and vigor the rest of the morning.
Here are some yummy ideas for protein-packed, energy-sustaining breakfasts:
- Apple and peanut butter sandwiches
- Steel cut oats with 1 Tbsp cashews, coconut milk and 1-2 Tbsp protein powder
- Plain Greek yogurt with 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1 Tbsp almonds, ½ cup blueberries
- ½ avocado with 1 egg in the hole, baked
- 2–3 links of organic turkey sausage, 1 egg and ¾ cup raspberries
- Homemade protein bars
- Grilled chicken with spinach and a small sweet potato
- Egg muffins and fresh fruit - Check out the recipe below
Makes 6 servings
Source: Adapted from Paleo Egg Muffins from Healthy Crush
12 free range, pastured eggs
Olive oil or coconut oil to grease muffin cups
Salt and pepper to taste (about ½ tsp each)
2 tsp fresh dill – chopped (other herb options: basil, mint, cilantro)
Vegetables of choice (I used spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onion)
Fresh avocado or goat cheese (for garnish)
- Whisk the eggs until smooth. Add salt, pepper and dill to the egg mixture.
- Grease the inside of the muffin cups.
- Fill the muffin cups with chopped spinach, tomatoes, green onions and mushrooms. (If you like, you can add a little goat cheese or cheddar here.)
- Ladle the egg mixture into each muffin cup. Fill to ¾ full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until egg is thoroughly cooked.
- Garnish with goat cheese or sliced avocado.
Nutrition Information per Serving (not including avocado or goat cheese) – 2 muffins equal one serving: Cal: 173, Pro: 13.5 gm, Carb: 5 gm, Fiber 1 gm, Total Fat: 10.5 gm, Sat. Fat: 3 gm, Trans Fat; 0 gm, Sod: 331 mg
The ingredient combinations are limitless for these moist muffins. What veggies and herbs will you use?