Keeping in line with this month’s theme, today we are looking at a few Energy Givers that you can add to your repertoire to kick things up a notch in your kitchen.
First, let me explain the term “Energy Givers.”
Energy Givers is the name I give to one of the sections on the Power Plate Formula that I teach. It’s basically any food whose major macronutrient is carbohydrates (starches and sugars). It does not include junk sugars because they get their own category on my plan, called “Non Foods.”
Energy Giver (EG) foods include potatoes, rice, oats, beans, lentils, fruits, sweet potatoes, plantains, quinoa, and much more. They are foods that we have a tendency to crave AND overeat.
Unfortunately, when we eat too many EGs, they get stored as fat instead of fuel.
So, finding your ideal EG intake is key to maintaining a healthy weight over time.
Your individual EG intake depends on a variety of factors, including activity level, time of the month (for women), muscle mass, and your general, daily energy output.
While we are highlighting some great new EGs today, keep in mind that they do add up quickly, so be sure to spread them throughout your day.
Energy Givers to Try this Week
I love plantains! They are NOT just a bigger banana, and I don’t suggest you eat them raw like a banana. You can, however, eat them ripe or unripe. They are a staple food in West and Central Africa, the Caribbean islands, Central America, and parts of South America.
When the plantain is unripe, it can be treated much like a potato. You can boil peeled plantains, and frying them is very popular as well.
Once a plantain is ripe, it turns black and sweet, just like a banana. At that point, they are typically fried, and sweet like a dessert.
Just like a potato, there are a million uses for plantains. Tostones and platanos maduros are my personal favorites. Using a heat-stable oil, like palm or avocado, is important when doing any kind of high-heat cooking.
If you are looking to try something crunchy, perhaps swap out your standard potato chips for a plantain. They are great with homemade ceviche. There are thousands of online recipes by great chefs, so I suggest you pick one and give it a try this week!
Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is considered a “superfruit” and is indigenous to Central and South America. It tastes kind of like a kiwi mixed with watermelon, and it is very high in antioxidants, which protect our cells from the effects of free radicals known to cause diseases.
The best way to use pitaya is in your homemade smoothies. This way, you can control the amount and type of sweetening agent you use.
There are so many “healthy bowl” places popping up these days that put too much sugar in great fruits like pitaya and end up giving you way too many carbohydrates in one sitting – so be aware of that when eating out.
But don’t forget to create balance in your smoothies so that you have a mix of nutrients and not just one big carbohydrate load! The following list can give you a place to start:
- ½ avocado
- Coconut milk (enough to belnd smoothie)
- 1 Dragon Fruit packet
- 1 scoop of pure or vanilla bone broth protein (Ancient Tradition is my favorite brand)
- A handful of spinach
- *Add a banana if you are an athlete or train hard
Dates are a great source of energy and one of the best ways to sweeten foods like oatmeal. They contain essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, as well as vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
Of course, there are a number of ways to use dates in your food plan. You can chop them up into small pieces and put them in a trail mix sparingly, or you can use them in baked goods as the sweetening agent, just to name a couple.
With any of the above Energy Givers, you’ll want to eat them in small amounts unless you are an athlete or train hard – then you have the freedom to eat a lot more EGs than I have, sitting here typing up blogs and talking to clients on the phone.