A few months back, I was struggling with my energy levels. I was dragging when I got home from work, but I needed more energy to finish a million-and-one household chores and to play with my daughter before bedtime.

I mentioned how tired I felt to the wellness specialists at the Farm Bureau home office, where I work in West Des Moines.

They suggested that I probably wasn’t eating enough food to fuel my body and keep my energy up throughout the day.

It seemed so counterintuitive – to eat more. Yet it also makes so much sense. How can I power through a workout or play with my daughter or spend an hour doing laundry if my body’s fuel tank is running on empty?

(Note: If you often feel tired, check with your doctor. You might have an underlying health condition, like anemia, which I also struggle with sometimes.)

The wellness folks encouraged me to eat high-quality protein in the morning, such as two or three eggs. They also encouraged me to snack on fruit, veggies and whole grains like popcorn, crackers and bread.

Don’t be afraid of carbs – the carbs are what give your body and brain energy!

When it comes to healthy eating, many of us assume we need to cut foods out of our diet. In reality, we need to enjoy a wider variety of foods to get the most benefit, according to nutrition experts.

I highly recommend the advice from renowned sports nutritionist Nancy Clark about how food fuels performance. It’s helpful for all of us, not just athletes.

If your energy levels are dragging, it’s important to eat when you’re hungry, get enough sleep, make time for an enjoyable hobby and talk to your doctor.

And remember, it’s OK to buy the food that fits your budget. Organic foods are the same nutritionally as conventionally raised foods. And frozen and canned produce is just as nutritious as fresh produce.

Want to know more about healthy food choices? Feel free to contact me with questions.

And a friendly reminder: Be sure to watch for farm equipment on the roads as spring planting season begins. Let’s enjoy a safe growing season.

Teresa Bjork
Editor, The Iowa Dish

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