If you’re getting ready to return to school or the office (or simply settling back into a schedule after a blissfully structure-free summer), you’ll need one thing in particular: energy.
However, as much as you may enjoy coffee, it shouldn’t be the only thing getting you through your busy fall schedule. Melissa Rifkin, RD, a registered dietician, agrees.
“It’s critical to distinguish between short-term energy bursts and long-term sustained energy,” says Rifkin. “After taking caffeine or a sugar-dense food product, one may experience a short burst of energy. While the energy increase is great, it is generally fleeting, with a noticeable decline in energy within a few hours.”
What’s the secret to long-term energy that will let you juggle everything? Eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods. “Each meal should have a balance of glucose, fat, protein, and produce for more sustained energy,” Rifkin advises. “Rather than the energetic peaks and troughs frequently associated with caffeine and refined sugar, this balance of nutrients encourages a more even level of blood sugar, which can result in more sustained energy.”
To help you understand some of the incredibly simple nutrients you’ll want to have on hand this fall, we joined up with Simple Mills to ask Rifkin for her take on some of the top energy foods to help feed your best low-stress, high-energy life this season and all year long.
Continue reading for a list of some of the top energy foods that are easy to keep on hand in your cupboard.
flour made from almonds
Almonds are an MVP grab-and-go snack for a reason: they’re high in fibre, vitamin E, and unsaturated fats (the good sort), making them full enough to keep you going between activities with just a handful. They can also aid with that prolonged boost because they’re heavy in protein (approximately seven grammes per quarter cup) and loaded with B vitamins (which help convert nutrients to energy).
Almond flour has many of the same benefits, which is why Simple Mills’ Almond Flour Crackers, Crunchy Cookies, and Soft-Baked Bars feature it as the star ingredient. Keep a box of each in your cupboard and you’ll have plenty of options for a nutrient-dense, on-the-go snack (besides that handful of almonds).
Sunflower seeds are a type of sunflower.
Sunflower seeds are little but mighty, providing iron, B6, and magnesium, as well as a balance of fat, protein, and fiber—a nutrient that promotes digestive regularity and satiety, according to Rifkin.
“Fiber-rich foods, such as Simple Mills crackers [with sunflower seeds], oatmeal, and popcorn, will keep you feeling full and pleased between meals,” writes. “Always match a carb source with a fat or protein source while snacking to maintain energy. This contributes to more stable blood sugar and, as a result, greater long-lasting energy. Dip [crackers] in avocado or serve with a slice of cheese, for example.”
“Coconut has some unique qualities,” Rifkin explains, “owing to the peculiar kind of fat present in coconut, termed Medium Chain Triglyceride, or MCT.” “Because MCT fat is processed and absorbed differently than most other types of fat, it can give a more rapid source of energy.”
With so many various types of coconut (flakes, flour, oil, sugar), you have a lot of alternatives for utilising its stimulating properties. It’s also a component of Simple Mills Crunchy Cookies, so you can get your energy while also satisfying your sweet tooth.
“Flax is a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fat, which is known to lower inflammation and boost brain health,” says Rifkin. “Lignans found in flax have antioxidant effects that encourage healthy cells all over the body.”
Healthy cells are better able to utilise energy efficiently, which is why flax is considered one of the finest meals for energy. Simple Mills’ nut and seed flour blend contains flax, which is used as a base in crackers, cookies, and bars, ensuring that you get your daily dose of flax.
Chia seeds are a type of chia seed that
“One of the most helpful characteristics of chia seeds is their ability to absorb water,” says Rifkin. “When you consume chia seeds plus fluid, the chia seeds increase in volume as they pass through your digestive track, promoting a feeling of fullness and contentment.”
If you don’t like chia pudding or oatmeal with seeds, try Simple Mills Soft Baked Bars (which come in flavours like Dark Chocolate Almond, Spiced Carrot Cake, and Nutty Banana Bread), which contain chia in their seed and seed flour combination. Keep them in your glove box, handbag, workout bag, or back pocket (fine, everywhere) to ensure that hanger and energy dips don’t keep you from finding your groove—and fuelling your fall.