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Eat For More Energy

Whole-wheat waffles with fruit and nuts or nut butter are a perfect energy-boosting breakfast. (Photo by Chris Gallo)

Whole-wheat waffles with nuts or nut butter and fruit are a perfect energy-boosting breakfast. (Photo by Chris Gallo)

Do you wake up every morning and bounce out of bed, ready to take on the new day? Probably not, but registered dietitian and FITNESS advisory board member Ashley Koff says that fantasy can be a reality. In her new book Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged, co-authored by trainer Kathy Kaehler, Koff shares simple suggestions for moms—or anyone!—to live a more pep-filled life. "Today we're giving out our energy to so many different spaces. It's really important to focus on how to bring some energy back in your life," Koff says. Here are her top five tips for a diet that will rev your engine:

  1. Aim for better energy, not just more. "The pursuit of more energy can lead to harmful highs and lows, as people often turn to espresso, sugar or supplements. I tell my clients to aim for 'better' energy by following the next four steps."
  2. Watch your portion sizes. "Think of one carbohydrate serving as about the size of your fist and one protein serving as the size of your palm. I don't recommend cup measurements because caloric and nutritional needs depend on your body size."
  3. Be a "qualitarian." "The type of fuel dictates how your body runs. Try to make the highest quality choices available, and you will get more nutrients. Our bodies perform best on foods that it recognizes—in other words, non-processed foods."
  4. Eat every three hours. "Your body is a race car not a street car. Fill up about every three hours and your body will use this as energy, rather than store it as fat. This also makes smaller meals less daunting, knowing that you'll eat again in just a few hours!"
  5. Include protein, fat and carbs in every meal and snack. "Carbs provide a one-hour boost, and protein and fat each offer one hour of longer-lasting energy. This works perfectly with the three-hour eating plan and helps your metabolism work most efficiently."

Keep reading to find a sample day's eats on Koff's vitality-boosting diet!

7 a.m.: Waffle topped with nut butter and berries; herbal tea 10 a.m.: Coffee or latte with nuts 1 p.m.: Half of a turkey, avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich on whole-wheat bread; side salad or vegetable soup 4 p.m.: Other half of sandwich from lunch; square of dark chocolate 7 p.m.: Fist-sized portion of whole-wheat pasta with two meatballs (or swap in 2 tablespoons hemp seeds for a meatless option); sauteed greens More from FITNESS: The All-Day Energy Guide