With all the parties during the holiday season, we often load up on convenience foods like cheese, bread, chips and dips, as they are readily available at most festive tables. This plus alcohol, less sleep, and less water can lead to you feeling run down, and sluggish. Recharge your body in between Christmas and New Years by upping the nutrients you take in. You have probably heard about "superfoods" as they pack a massive punch. You don't have to go out and go crazy buying all new ingredients to stock your house, but I do recommend adding in a bit of extras to your regular meals. It is often these little additions that fill you up, and crowd out some of the other sneaky health saboteurs that can creep in this time of year.
These plant-based foods provide you with more energy and better health due to their high levels of vitamins and minerals. (Secret-they are all vegan too!)
1. Hemp seeds: awesome source of omega-3 fats (which is great for me because I HATE fish and fish oil supplements). These can be sprinkled on top of both savoury or sweet foods.
2. Chia seeds: (pictured above) these are packed with protein and filled with fibre. Mix them with water or homemade almond milk to make a gel and use in smoothies or as a dessert.
3. Kale: we can't have a list without this newly popular veg. Filled with magnesium which helps ease muscle cramps. Pull the leaves from the stems and saute kale in olive oil and top with some spices for a lovely side dish.
4. Sea vegetables: ok so this one is a bit difficult for me to incorporate into my diet to be honest. But sea vegetables are a fantastic natural source of sodium. Nori is the easiest source which can usually be found in the Japanese section of your grocery store. Have a homemade sushi making night with your family or friends!
5. Tempeh: this protein is easily digested and can be used as the main dish or to top salads and wraps. Try marinating tempeh with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and coconut oil.
6. Coconut water/oil: coconut water has an electrolyte content that is most similar to the human body's. Coconut oil contains medium chain fats which provides your body with nourishment and longer term energy. You can cook with coconut oil or slip some into your smoothie!
7. Quinoa: a grain-like seed that contains all essential amino acids which makes it a "complete" protein, the same as meat. I pop quinoa in my rice cooker and then love to add homemade pesto to it for a nice little change from pasta.
8. Honey: raw, and try for local. Honey is nice as a sweetener in drinks and desserts but has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Remember that it degrades over 40 C, so don't heat it too high or add to boiling water. To my southern ladies out there, give honey-iced tea a try instead of Sweet Tea!
Incorporating these foods into your meals and snacks will ensure that you are never lacking in energy or focus.