Quick, Easy Energy for the Holidays
There is so much to love about the holiday season! The air is crisp with a little jack frost nipping at your nose. The winter chill brings in the holiday spirit with twinkle lights wrapping around roof tops and tall spruces and pines take over living rooms twirled in tinsel and speckled with bows. We spend all of our free time searching for the perfect gifts for those we care about and wrapping them in colorful paper to go around the tree. Extra minutes are carved out to plan holiday vacations, enjoy family traditions, and attend the seasonal parties and events. While all of this is magical, there is still the close of the fourth quarter, quotas, business, finals, and getting it all done in time to really enjoy the festivities. It’s a happy sort of chaos that ensues and can leave even the most organized person feeling spread a little thin.
So we want to share a few quick and easy energy tips for the holidays to keep you on your toes and powering through those to-do lists like the champ we know you are!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: high protein snacks! Food is fuel, and if you consume the right fuel, you’ll have all the energy and power you need to get everything done. If you power up with the wrong fuel, you’re likely to crash and burn halfway through. Dramatic? Not at all. Here’s a quick rundown for anyone who may be forgetting the value of their protein based snack. Protein takes longer to burn than carbs, so it will keep you from any hangry seasonal moments. With longer satiety, you need to take less breaks looking for your next meal!
Due to protein’s longer digestive process, it also slows the absorption of the sugars and carbs consumed with it, meaning you don’t get a hard sugar spike and insulin crash after eating. When you go for sugary or fully carb based fuel, your body will give you a burst of energy, but it will burn fast and leave you feeling hungry and tired. So stay energized when you need it most, and grab a healthy, high protein snack that also gives you a few carbs to give you balanced long, lasting energy.
For a quick, convenient, and mouthwatering choice, stock up on your favorite Puffs and Stix like Caramelized Onion, Red Pepper, Nacho Cheese, and Sweet Dijon. Be prepared for the extra holiday traffic with a bag or two stowed in the car. Throw a few in your desk for the longer hours you may put in to wrap up the year. A bag of Cheddar Cheese Puffs in your duffel for the commutes around the city while shopping can really take the edge off. With 7 - 10 grams of protein in every bag, along with 14 - 21 grams of carbohydrates, IWON has the tastiest well-balanced, vegetarian protein snacks that give you the flavors you crave with the energy you need!
While squeezing in one more thing in your day may seem like an impossibility, this next tip is one you will thank us for when you follow through. Exercise! It may seem like this will actually make you more tired, but that’s not accurate. Exercise stimulates blood flow and releases more oxygen into the body giving your cells more energy to burn. It also can help lower your stress levels by releasing some feel good endorphins like dopamine. If you can lower your cortisol and stress, you will have more energy and feel better all around. People who exercise regularly typically sleep better as well, and we all know the amazing effects of a good night’s sleep!
Speaking of sleep, it’s essential that you get enough. We’ve all heard this before, and you may even be trying to adhere to the stereotypical eight or more hours. However, if you find yourself struggling to stay asleep the entire time you’re in bed, you could be wasting productive time. Harvard Health actually advises getting less sleep as a way to boost your production.(1) They suggest experimenting with how much sleep you truly need by starting with only four hours and working up in increments of 15-30 minutes each night. As long as you are fully sleeping the entire time you are in bed, then your body needs those extra minutes. Stop adding increments of time as soon as you find yourself spending moments counting sheep instead of deep in your REM cycles.
Along with eating, exercising, and sleeping, a commonly overlooked source of energy is what you drink throughout the day. It’s the holidays, so there are definitely some pumpkin spiced lattes and peppermint mocha cappuccinos fueling the mornings. Caffeine is one of the great energy options in life when used wisely! Try not to drink more than one more cup over your normal intake. If you typically have one coffee a day, you can up that to two, but only if the energy is needed. Drinking too much coffee can acclimate your nervous system to the buzz and begin to lose its desired effect. Drinking too much caffeine late in the day can also disrupt your sleep and create more exhaustion the next day.
The other great energy beverage is water! If you are dehydrated, your body will feel more fatigue. This is why every athlete in the world stays hydrated. You don’t need fancy sports drinks or extra electrolytes, just simple water. It will support better brain function and clarity, allow your blood to pump more easily lessening the work for your heart and spread more oxygen to your cells, as well as help prevent headaches and fatigue which both slow you down.
Lastly, beware of the beverage that may ease some tension but will also increase your fatigue. Alcohol. A Christmas cocktail party, drinks with friends, or spiked cider are all wonderful ways to relax and celebrate if that’s your flavor. Simply keep in mind that alcohol is a sedative. Too much alcohol can stress your immune system, increase inflammation, and cause tension, stomach pain, and headaches. So as the saying goes, “drink responsibly.” Enjoy your bevvy once everything in your day has been done and you can wind down for the night. Be sure to drink extra water to prevent dehydration before going to bed, so you can wake up refreshed and ready for another beautiful winter day as you successfully wrap up 2021.