Diet & Nutrition | Wellness
Fight Fatigue With Food

5 Ways to Fight Fatigue With Food

How to get energy that lasts

When fatigue sets in, most of us reach for a “pick-me-up” in the form of sugar or caffeine. Both boost energy levels fast, but they lack staying power.

Fortunately, you have better options for staying alert and awake. Start with these five tips from Amy Jamieson-Petonic, M.Ed, RD, CSSD, LD, Director of Wellness Coaching at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.

  • breakfast

    1. Never skip breakfast

    Research shows that people who eat breakfast perform better at tasks, eat fewer overall calories and miss fewer days of work and school than those who don’t.

  • coffee

    2. Don’t overdo coffee

    A daily cup or two of java is fine. Going overboard sets you up for fatigue later in the day. On top of that, drinking caffeine late in the afternoon or early in the evening may lead to sleepless nights — and even more fatigue the next day.

  • refined carbs

    3. Avoid refined carbs

    Carbohydrates provide much-needed energy. But highly refined carbs such as white bread, candy and sweet baked goods lead to a crash. For lasting energy, seek unrefined carbs and foods rich in fiber. Try oatmeal, brown rice, blueberries, oranges, legumes, broccoli, asparagus, spinach and kale, for starters.

  • lean protein

    4. Add a little lean protein to meals and snacks

    Protein takes longer to digest and absorb. When you eat it with a carbohydrate, it slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream. You get sustained energy without the crash. For example, try adding a little low-fat cheese or cottage cheese, yogurt, or almond or peanut butter (no sugar added) to your meals or snacks.

  • small meals

    5. Choose small, frequent meals to fuel your day

    When you skip meals or eat too infrequently, your energy levels can fall so low you’ll overeat at the next meal or graze on unhealthy snacks. Combine the tips above for success, and do it regularly. For example, pair a lean protein such as fish or chicken breast with an unrefined carb such as brown rice.

If you follow these tips, you’ll keep your mind and body at their best all day long — and avoid the blood sugar roller coaster in the process.

Tags: diet and nutrition, fatigue, healthy diet, mental fatigue, physical fatigue, wellness
Cleveland Clinic now offers same-day appointments. Get the care you need, right away at 888.223.CARE.

We welcome your comments. However, we cannot provide a medical opinion without an in-person consultation. To learn about Cleveland Clinic services available to you, please fill out our WebMail form.
  • n_orville

    Great reference…thank you!

  • butwhat

    Doing all that, What’s next to try?

  • JoAnn

    I hate eating breakfast. Never feel good after eating breakfast. No matter what I eat.