Power Up Parenthood: Energizing Strategies for Boosting Energy Levels
Updated: Aug 1
Look, parenting is rewarding and fulfilling, but it's also exhausting AF.
You know you're supposed to 'fill your own cup' before pouring to others but often, parents are left at the end of the day with little gas in the tank. Step away from that fourth cup of coffee, and check out some other ways to boost your energy nutritionally.
Here are my best nutrition tips, designed for busy parents to feel their best and reclaim some energy to chase after their crazy kids.
Start Your Day with a Nutrient-Rich Breakfast:
When you're prepping lunches, getting people dressed, and running around, it's easy to skip breakfast or grab something quick. This one is a non-negotiable - starting your day with a nutrient-rich breakfast can set the tone for the rest of the day. Opt for whole grains, such as oatmeal or whole wheat toast, which provide long-lasting energy. Include a source of lean protein, like eggs or Greek yogurt, to keep you feeling satisfied and energized throughout the morning. Shoot for 20-30 grams of protein.
Incorporate Superfoods into Your Diet:
Yeah, they're trendy, but for good reason. Choosing whole foods that are packed with essential nutrients can give you an instant energy boost. Include foods like berries, spinach, kale, chia seeds, and avocados in your meals and snacks. Berries are rich in antioxidants, which help combat fatigue-inducing free radicals in the body. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in iron and folate, which are crucial for maintaining energy levels. Chia seeds and avocados provide healthy fats and fiber, promoting satiety and preventing energy crashes.
Dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue and sluggishness, and that ain't cute on anyone. Shoot for at LEAST half your body weight in ounces (150 lbs = 75 ounces) and carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. If you want something cute, go ahead with your Stanley Cup girl. What counts? Sparkling water, water + nuun, flavored unsweetened water (think Hint water) pressed juice, tea, ONE cup of coffee (after that it's veering into the dehydration station). And look, I'm fine with you winding down with a glass of wine or whatever your beverage of choice is, but try to keep it to once and drink a FULL glass of water before and after to reduce hating your life when those kids wake you up at 5:30 AM tomorrow.
When hunger strikes between meals, opt for healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up. Avoid reaching for sugary and processed snacks that provide a quick energy spike but leave you crashing shortly after. Instead, choose snacks that combine protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Some great options include a handful of nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt with fruit, or carrot sticks with hummus.
Plan and Prep Your Meals:
Meal planning and preparation can be a game-changer for busy moms. Dedicate some time each week to plan your meals and snacks in advance. This will help you make healthier choices and avoid relying on fast food or takeout when time is limited. Prepare meals in batches and store them in the fridge or freezer for easy access during busy days. This way, you'll have nutritious options readily available, reducing stress and saving time. Want more help with this? Check out my weekly meal prep subscription here or check out my other recipe resources on my shop page.
I mentioned this at breakfast, but it's worth paying a bit of attention. If you're mostly eating carbs all day, protein is a huge powerhouse to maintain energy levels, stabilize blood sugar and maintain muscle mass. Include lean sources of protein in your meals, such as chicken, fish, tofu, beans, or lentils. Protein-rich snacks like hard-boiled eggs, nuts, cheese, or protein bars can also provide a quick energy boost when you're on the go.
Don't Skip Meals:
Do me a favor, and just don't. Knock it off with that intermittent fasting. You need energy. Skipping meals may seem like a time-saving strategy, but it can lead to a significant drop in energy levels. When you skip meals, your blood sugar levels drop, resulting in fatigue and poor concentration. Make it a point to have regular, balanced meals throughout the day, even if they are smaller in size. This will keep your metabolism active and provide a steady supply of energy.
While not directly related to nutrition, and while you can't always control this one, getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining energy levels. I get it, we all do the revenge bedtime procrastination to get a shred of time to ourselves. Try to go to sleep a bit earlier, even just a few times a week, and don't you dare bring your phone into your bedroom. Establish a bedtime routine that creates a comfortable sleep environment, dim the lights, do something calming like reading and limit caffeine intake in the evening to promote restful sleep.
While it might feel like another thing to add to your plate, I promise that prioritizing even just a few things on this list will have you feeling better in no time. There is no award for the most tired parent, and giving yourself the space to feel nourished and energized is going to make you a better parent all around. Ready? Let's go!