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With the new year right around the corner, there are a lot of goals, dreams, and resolutions you have cooking up. To do them, you’re going to need the right energy to make them all come alive. Nutrition and physical energy are essential to go after your goals and intentions every day for the short and long-term. Learn from our amiga and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Anna Rios on 3 steps you can take now to nourish yourself in preparation for the big plans and projects you have coming up, jefa!
Do you ever feel like there is so much to do pero te sientes sin ganas o energía? It can be challenging to tackle projects and everyday life when energy is low, and we can’t focus. However, nothing can slow you down when you’ve got energy and mental clarity! Eating balanced, nourishing meals can help boost energy levels, focus, and strengthen the immune system.
So, let’s get to it, amiga! I know that changing eating habits can be intimidating because it’s hard to know where to begin. No te preocupes – today I’m going to break it down for you so you know exactly where to start!
1. A Desayunar
I know you’ve heard it before, but it needs to be said again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you eat in the morning can set you up for success throughout the day. And while it’s easy to opt for the pan dulce with a cafecito on your way out, there are more options that contain less sugars and more nutrients to help fuel your body. It’s important to know the difference between natural sugars and added sugars in your meals, including your desayuno where they can easily sneak in. Check out this resource to learn more.
So, let’s talk about the secret formula for a balanced breakfast that will keep you energized throughout the day. This includes a combination of fiber, protein, and good fats. This combination will stabilize blood sugar levels, which helps optimize energy! Here are some examples of a balanced breakfast:
• Avocado Toast – Whole grain bread (fiber), avocado (good fats and a good source of fiber), egg (protein)
• Yogurt (protein), fruit (fiber), nuts and seeds (healthy fat and extra protein)
The morning is a great time to eat healthy fats like avocado as it will help improve your nutrition throughout the day. Avocados offer nutrient-dense calories that will keep you satiated and nourished until your next meal.
2. Choose Nourishing Foods
What we eat directly impacts our mood and energy levels. Focusing on nutrition can also help reduce the risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type II diabetes. Some of which impact the Latine community the most, y nos tenemos que cuidar.
Choosing mainly nutrient-dense foods while reducing ultra-processed foods is a great way to start. Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meats. The most important advice I can give you is to start small and make realistic changes. Let’s say you’re eating Sabritas and pan dulce daily, the best way to make changes is to do it gradually. Start with having Sabritas and pan dulce every other day, and keep reducing it until it is no more than once or twice a week.
The next step is to make delicious meals with nutrient-dense foods to keep your tastebuds happy. Ask yourself what your favorite meals are and begin incorporating your favorite flavors using wholesome ingredients. For example, if you like it picoso, explore dishes like aguachile, ceviche, salsas, and more. Avocados have also been known to help stabilize blood sugar levels, which is important for those with diabetes, which disproportionally affects Hispanic and Latino adults. The good news is that an analysis of 14,000 Hispanics revealed that consuming avocados is associated with better insulin responses in those with normal blood sugar. In people with type 2 diabetes, avocado consumption was linked to lower average blood sugar and better insulin-related measures. (Wood, 2023) The Avocado Nutrition Center funded the research, contributing to mounting evidence supporting avocados’ potential benefits for blood sugar and insulin management.
3. Avoid Skipping Meals
Some days can get really busy but eating consistently throughout the day is essential for staying healthy and energized! The best thing you can do is plan for those busy days. Let’s remember that food is our main source of energy, so getting a consistent influx of energy is key. Here are my best tips to avoid skipping meals during your busy days:
• Pack your lunch ahead of time. Make a double batch for dinner and pack the leftovers.
• Make something easy like a sandwich or a burrito using leftover ingredients.
• Keep protein and fiber-rich snacks in your car and at your desk. I recommend having protein bars, nuts, fruit, dried fruit, and dark chocolate.
• If you forget to eat, set reminders! Use technology to your advantage, amiga and set those alarms on your phone to help you stay nourished.
Do your best to choose healthy foods in the most realistic way for you! Not all meals need to be glamorous. Remember that it is about progress, not perfection. Every week, make a few attainable goals that will help your energy, mood, and overall health. Whether it’s to drink more water, eat a serving of fruit every day, or to eat a balanced breakfast. After a few weeks, you’ll start feeling more energized and motivated to continue nourishing yourself. Take it a step at a time, and you’ll see how much your future self will thank you. Poco a poco amiga!
About the Author
Anna is a registered dietitian nutritionist and food blogger. She works with the underserved Latine community in northern California, while also creating nourishing plant-based Mexican recipes. Her goal is to show her community that it is possible to eat a healthy diet while still honoring our culture and enjoying our food. She focuses on intuitive and mindful eating as well as a healthy relationship with food because mental health and nutrition are connected