If you can’t seem to figure out why you’re experiencing sudden energy crashes, your sugary breakfast could be to blame. “When you have blood sugar dysregulation, you’re potentially having energy crashes in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon,” said Nicole Jardim, certified women’s health and functional nutrition coach, at the most recent Well+Good TALK. “You might also have trouble falling or staying asleep at night—especially if your blood sugar or insulin are higher at night.”
And the reason why? Sugary foods—including simple carbohydrates (think white bread and pastries), some yogurts, and breakfast cereals—cause your blood sugar to spike then quickly drop, which can affect your mood and energy levels and even increase anxiety. To keep everything stable, Jardin recommends sticking to a three-step breakfast formula that contains everything your body needs to prevent a spike from occurring.
“I’m a big fan of having a breakfast that has some kind of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates in the morning,” she says. “That tends to work well for people—especially if there’s blood sugar imbalance.”
There are many different ways to create a breakfast with protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates. You can do a breakfast bowl, avocado toast, oats with fruits and nuts, a scramble with veggies, or a healthy breakfast wrap. As long as you’re reaching for the the right combination of ingredients—and ditching the added sugar and simple carbohydrates—you should avoid a blood sugar spike, and the crash that follows.
Here’s how to eat for energy:
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