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5 caffeine-free foods to eat in the morning for more energy

Coffee and tea are by far the most popular beverages people drink to fuel their bodies in the morning, but what if I told you, you can feel just as energetic (or even more) without these stimulants?

If you want to cut down your caffeine intake and still feel energetic, you can do it. Caffeine isn’t the only thing that can keep you running all day long.

Despite all of the new research identifying health benefits of coffee, like its high content of polyphenols that protect your body against free radicals, the caffeine it contains can be a problem if you’re struggling with fatigue, energy crashes, and mood swings.

The problem with caffeine is the undesirable side effects it has on your body when you eat or drink it constantly:

    • It makes you depend on it. If you drink coffee daily, skipping a cup one day can make you feel drained, and soon you start to feel you ‘need’ it just to feel ‘okay’.
      It can make you jittery.
      It can irritate your stomach.
      It can make you irritable.
      It stimulates your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones, sending blood sugar levels up and putting you on the blood sugar roller coaster, which depletes your energy.
      It’s hard to get it out of your system. About 50% of the population has difficulty detoxifying caffeine.
      It negatively affects people with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and pregnant women.
      It can cause tremors, sleeping problems, and stress. If you have any of these symptoms then obviously you’re drinking too much coffee, or your body can not cope with it.
  • Luckily, your energy can come from other sources. Many whole foods are packed with nutrients that can boost your energy in the mornings without an ounce of caffeine.

    By using whole foods as fuel, your body can stop depending on stimulants to keep going.

    The cells in your body make energy from the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

    If you give your body these nutrients daily, in the right amounts and from the right sources, your cells will have all the energy they need to function at their best and you will be alert, focused, and productive.

    As a nutritionist, I use and recommend the ABC eating concept: adequate protein, balanced healthy fats, and controlled carbs. This approach will help you manage your blood sugar, support weight-loss, and increase energy.

    A- Adequate protein: Eating enough protein is necessary for abundant energy. It’s involved in vital body processes such as brain chemistry, tissue formation, and healing. It has a low glycemic load, which means it doesn’t alter your blood sugar levels.

    The best protein sources include fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and green leafy vegetables.

    B- Balanced healthy fats: Fats slow down the release of sugar from carbohydrates to your bloodstream, which keeps your blood glucose stable. It also keeps you satisfied for longer periods of time and supports brain and heart health.

    Healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish.

    C- Controlled carbs: Carbs are a quick source of energy for your body, but they are also the macronutrient that drives up your blood sugar the most, so it’s important to eat them in moderation. Portion control is key to getting the most benefits out of carbohydrates without the negative side effects on your blood sugar.

    Sources of carbs include veggies, whole grains, and fruits.

    When you add plenty of protein and healthy fats to a controlled portion of carbs, you have a recipe for energy, weight-loss, and health.

    Here are 5 nutrient-dense foods you can eat in the morning that will give you long-lasting energy:

    1. Veggie skillet

    A veggie skillet is a quick and delicious way to add more vegetables to your breakfast. It’s high in nutrients, protein, and relatively low in calories.

    Non-starchy vegetables are a form healthy carbs that won’t spike your blood sugar levels, so you can eat as many as you like.

    You can make a skillet with any veggies you have in your fridge: mushrooms, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach, or zucchini. Sautee the veggies with olive or coconut oil and top them off with a pair of eggs for a dose of protein and healthy fats.

    Here’s how you prepare a veggie skillet:

    • Choose your favorite vegetables and slice or cube them.
      Add 1 tbsp. of avocado, olive or coconut oil to your pan and set it to medium heat.
      Add your veggies to the pan and stir.
      Mix in your preferred seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, rosemary, or any other.
      Cook until the veggies are tender and fragrant, stirring occasionally.
      Move your veggies to a plate.
      Cook 2 eggs on the hot pan until desired doneness.
      Place the eggs over the veggies - and enjoy!
  • 2. Quinoa porridge

    Quinoa is a gluten-free pseudo-cereal high in protein and complex carbs. It is one of the few plant-based complete proteins, which means it contains the 9 essential amino acids we must get from our food.

    Three-quarters of cooked quinoa provide your body with:

    • 39.40 g of carbs.
      5.18 g of fiber.
      8.14 g of protein.
      3.55 g of fat.
  • To make it, cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of almond or coconut milk until creamy.

    Make sure you rinse the quinoa well before cooking. Quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn't hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.

    Since quinoa is mostly carbs, top it with healthy fats and protein, like almond butter, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, or hemp seeds.

    3. Buckwheat bread avocado toasts

    Toast is classic breakfast that can be energizing and filling if you choose the right ingredients.

    Buckwheat bread is made out of buckwheat groats, a type of fruit seeds that are a perfect substitute for grains.

    Buckwheat is rich in magnesium, copper, and manganese. Manganese helps to control blood sugar, copper is crucial for energy production, and magnesium improves circulation and blood flow.

    Buckwheat bread, unlike grain bread, helps to lower and control your blood glucose levels.

    Two slices of buckwheat bread contain:

    • 40g of carbohydrates.
      4g of fiber.
      6g of protein.
      0g of fat.
  • Trythis buckwheat chia bread recipe by Healthy Chef.

    The best way to complement your toast is with protein or healthy fats - like avocado.

    Avocado is a healthy and yummy fat rich in pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin K, fiber, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. It’s contains mainly monounsaturated fats.

    Half an avocado gives you:

    • 8.6g of carbohydrates.
      6.7g of fiber.
      2g of protein.
      14.7g of fat.
  • Simply slice the avocado and serve over the toast. You can garnish it with spices, microgreens, or seeds.

    4. Chia pudding with fruits and nuts.

    Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse that will nourish your body with protein and healthy fats, boosting your energy and alertness.

    Two tablespoons of chia seeds give you:

    • 12g of carbs.
      10g of fiber.
      4.7g of protein.
      9g of fat. From those 9g, 7g are polyunsaturated fatty acids: omega 3 and omega 6.
  • Omega 3 and 6 are crucial for brain health. Eating enough of these fatty acids can preserve and increase brain function, improve cognition, and get rid of brain fog.

    Chia seeds are also low in calories, with only 160 calories in two tablespoons.

    This makes chia seeds one of the most nutritious foods you can eat: Low in calories but high in protein and fat.

    You can enjoy chia pudding by mixing ¼ cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of almond or coconut milk and leave it in the fridge overnight.

    Feel free to sweeten your pudding with low calorie sweeteners that won’t spike your blood sugar, like lacanto, xylitol or stevia.

    If you use other sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, jaggery, or coconut sugar, use very little quantities, since these sugars can spike your blood glucose levels.

    The next morning you will have a delicious pudding you can top with fruit, nuts and seeds.

    If you top your pudding with fruits, choose low glycemic berries, like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, and use only ¼ to 1/2 a cup of fruit to keep your blood sugar balanced.

    Adding spices like cinnamon or cardamom will also help you stabilize blood sugar.

    5. A green smoothie

    Even on busy mornings, you can still feed your body a whole, energizing meal by using only your blender.

    Green smoothies allow you to eat several portions of fruits and veggies even before the day begins. You will stay full for hours and be alert.

    They key to creating an energizing green smoothie is to mix leafy greens, fruits, protein, and fats to create a complete meal.

    You will need:

    2 cups of leafy greens (60%): Kale, watercress, collard greens, spinach, lettuce.

    1.5 cups of fruit (40%): Choose low glycemic berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

    2 cups of liquid: water, plant milk, coconut water, cold tea.

    1-3 tablespoons of protein: Hemp seeds, protein powder, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and nut butter.

    Healthy fats: Coconut oil, avocado, almond butter, MCT oil.

    Add your ingredients to the blender and enjoy.

    Conclusion

    To feel energetic without caffeine, all you need to do is eat complex and balanced meals, following the ABC concept.

    Avoid processed grains and sugars. Processed food lacks the fiber, protein, and healthy fats that support your body. Instead, they are high in simple carbs that get absorbed quickly by your bloodstream, which causes energy surges and crashes.

    Whole foods like, veggies, eggs, quinoa, chia seeds, buckwheat bread, and green smoothies will help you kick start your day with energy - and without needing caffeine.

    Wishing u good health…naturally…

    To your health | a votre santé| uf diini gesundheit

    lisa Fouladi

    registered clinical nutritionist

    ba dip ion fd/sc mbant ntcc cnhc

    Functional Nutrition

    Functional Nutrition is a progressive, science-based approach that blends individual nutritional counselling with laboratory testing. Its focus is uniquely holistic, assessing the way in which the food we eat affects our bodies on a cellular level. Through functional nutrition, health concerns and imbalances are both identified and able to be addressed, leaving us to embrace life as our best functioning selves.

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