Breakfast: Grande mocha latté
Lunch: Chili cheeseburger with fries & a large Coke
Dinner: Chinese take-out & a glass of water

Does this resemble what you ate today? If so, you are probably feeling run-down or tired. Well, listen up – eating the right foods can help you feel better! According to Dr. Kris Clark, Director of Sports Nutrition at Penn State University, carbohydrate-rich foods fuel and energize the cells in your body, which, in turn, can fuel and energize YOU. And, eating such foods for meals and snacks will help boost and maintain energy levels throughout the day. “From warm oatmeal with fruit at breakfast to a tasty pasta dish with vegetables for dinner, carbohydrate-rich foods should be a part of every meal or snack,? advises Clark. “Incorporating carbs into snacks is also easy. Snacking on a few graham crackers or animal crackers is a delicious way to provide much-needed energy to the cells in your body.? Clark also suggests dried fruit – such as dried plums – as a great way to maintain energy levels throughout the day. “Dried plums are an energy-packed snack full of important nutrients such as potassium, antioxidants and vitamin A that can keep you going through a workout or even a meeting,? said Clark. “They are also portable and convenient, fitting easily into briefcases, gym bags, purses or luggage.? Whether at the gym or the office, needing energy is at the top of many people’s health wish list. Choosing high calorie foods and beverages, rich in carbohydrates and protein, can boost your energy, too. Crackers with peanut butter or a cheese sandwich are two high-protein, good-for-you snacks to supplement meals. Clark also notes the importance of drinking water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. “Even sweating can influence levels of dehydration and, as a result, affect energy levels,? said Clark. “Keeping your hydration levels high are imperative to maintaining high energy levels.?

5 Tips to Boost & Maintain Energy Levels
1. Carbohydrates fuel and energize muscle cells! Carbohydrate-rich foods should be part of every meal or snack. How can carbohydrate-rich foods fit into your day? Breakfast - oatmeal, skim milk, bagel Snack - dried plums, orange, animal crackers Lunch - baked potato, banana, yogurt Snack - grahman crackers, apple, crackers Dinner - pasta, rice, corn * Dried fruit offers lightweight, non-perishable and energy rich carbohydrates. Pack them in plastic bags and toss in gym bags, backpacks or leave in a locker for an energy rich after workout snack.
2. More calories mean more energy! Whether at the gym or at the office, needing energy is many people’s biggest “must have.? Since more calories will boost energy levels, choose foods or beverages rich in carbohydrates and protein to boost calories. Dried or fresh fruits, crackers and peanut butter or sports bars can be eaten throughout the day to supplement three balanced meals.
3. Eat foods containing fiber for a steady supply of energy. Foods rich in fiber allow glucose to enter the blood at a steady pace, which helps exercisers sustain energy levels. Dried fruits such as dried plums are fiber-rich fruits that don't require refrigeration and are the perfect snack. Fresh fruit, whole grain breads and cereals also boost fiber intake.
4. Carbohydrates after exercise boost glycogen stores – the internal energy source for muscle cells. After workouts, muscles are exhausted since glycogen has been depleted during exercise. Exercisers who train day-after-day are encouraged to eat carbohydrates as soon as possible after exercise to begin the replacement of glycogen. Top After-Exercise Food Choices for Glycogen Replacement * Crackers & Peanut Butter * Dried Plums * Graham or Animal Crackers * Sports Drinks or Fruit Juice * Yogurt or Cheese Sandwich
5. Drink more fluids. Dehydration = FATIGUE Even sweating can influence levels of dehydration and consequently affect energy levels. Fluids that contain carbohydrates will boost energy and hydrate all at once. Hydrating Rules * 16 oz. before exercise * 4-6 oz. for every 15-20 min. of exercise

Tips provided by Dr. Kristine Clark, Ph.D., R.D., FACSM & Director of Sports Nutrition, Penn State University