I want to have more energy because I work full-time while raising four kids. A dietitian said to eat more whole grains and bigger meals.
- A 42-year-old submitted an average day of eating to be reviewed for Insider's Nutrition Clinic.
- They told Insider their goal is to gain
energyto fuel their days working full-time and raising four kids.
- A dietitian recommends eating more whole grains and replacing caffeine with water.
- If you'd like to have your
dietreviewed by an expert, fill out this form.
Nikki, 42, submitted their eating routine for Insider's Nutrition Clinic, where qualified dietitians offer advice on readers' eating habits.
They told Insider their goal is to gain more energy. Nikki has four kids and a full time job working with disabled children.
"I wake up at 7 A.M. and have a very difficult time getting up and starting my day," they said. "Once I get the kids to school I go to work. I barely have a moment to breathe all day though I do have a lunch break."
Nikki works till 4 P.M. when their kids get home.
"I can hardly make it through dinner and homework," Nikki said. "By 8 P.M. I am collapsing. I spend the rest of the evening in bed on my phone or laptop. I really have things I need to do — housework, laundry, cleaning etc — but I can't even move."
They usually fall asleep between midnight and 1 A.M., but dietitian Priya Tew advises going to bed earlier.
"This can be hard to put into practice as they probably want some time to themself in the evenings, but good quality sleep will really help those energy levels and sense of wellbeing," Tew said.
Nikki has cereal for breakfast
Nikki has their first meal of the day around 8 A.M., which consists of cereal, such as Honey Bunches of Oats and low-fat milk, and sometimes a sweetened coffee.
"Sometimes I snack on peanut butter pretzels during the morning," they said.
For a more energizing breakfast, Tew suggests a whole grain breakfast cereal with fruit and some crunchy seeds on top.
Nikki grabs convenient food for lunch
At midday, Nikki eats something from a shop nearby, often a slice of pizza or a tuna sandwich, they said.
Tew said that given Nikki's busy schedule, they'd benefit from a larger lunch — try adding some berries and yogurt or a handful of nuts.
"Nikki is doing a good job of eating regularly throughout the day, but they are relying on meals grabbed on the run which are not giving their body the
Nikki has a mid-afternoon snack like cookies
Around 4 P.M., Nikki has a snack like cookies, a frozen package dinner, or half a bagel with tuna or cheese.
"I drink Diet Coke throughout the day to function," they added.
Tew said having a more nutritious afternoon snack could help keep Nikki's energy levels up.
"The bagel is a great idea, other options could include nut butter and banana on toast or cheese, grapes, and whole grain crackers," they said.
Although the caffeine in Diet Coke may seem helpful, Tew said it doesn't help long-term because it can keep you awake at night. She suggests drinking more water.
Nikki eats dinner with family and an evening snack later
Nikki and their family eat dinner around 6 P.M., often meatballs and spaghetti, chicken and rice, takeout Chinese, two slices of pizza, or pasta with cottage cheese, they said.
For their final food of the day, Nikki snacks on another serving of dinner or a sandwich, followed by some cake or cookies at about 10 P.M.
By including more fruit and vegetables in their meals, Nikki's diet would get a fiber boost which helps stabilize energy, according to studies such as this 2016 study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine.
If Nikki focuses on building a good routine with nutrition, sleep, and movement, they should find it easier to maintain their energy as a busy working parent, Tew said.
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