Nutritionists Agree: The One Food You Should Eat When You’re Feeling Sluggish And Burnt Out

When you’re in the middle of a busy work week and have a long list of agenda items to complete, feeling sluggish and burnt out can be incredibly frustrating. Lethargy can make it nearly impossible to even get out of bed, let alone be productive. But, you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s important to lead a lifestyle that allows you to recharge and, more importantly, refuel. Your diet is perhaps the biggest factor in how you feel each day, so nourishing your body with whole, balanced foods is crucial for combating burnout and feeling energized throughout the day. We asked Phene Wardlaw, ISSA-CPT and founding partner of UNITY Wellness, the most important food to eat when you feel your energy and motivation waning.

First of all, what are some common mistakes people make that may be setting them up to not feel their best? “There are several reasons you may feel fatigued or sluggish, including being dehydrated or eating an improperly balanced diet,” Wardlaw says, “One category of food that contributes to this is simple carbohydrates. Try to avoid foods that contain high-fructose sugar, corn syrup, as well as baked goods.” A good rule of thumb is to avoid high processed foods, and instead follow a diet that is majority fresh fruits, vegetables, and high protein items. Of course, everything can be enjoyed in moderation, so aim for balance, not perfection. Additionally, avoid sodas, or beverages that contain high amounts of sugar, as a high sugar diet can also cause crashes in energy.   

While there is no single “magic” pill or food that can completely heal you or reverse your symptoms, there are certain food groups that optimize different functions in the body. When you’re feeling sluggish and drained, Wardlaw says the best thing to do is pack in more fiber and protein. “If you have low energy, your body is craving fuel. The best rule of thumb is to eat three well-rounded meals a day containing foods in their most natural state. As a personal trainer, I tell my clients to avoid prepackaged ingredients and opt for fresh vegetables, clean protein sources, and to avoid sugary refreshments.” Health symptoms of any kind are more than just unpleasant, they’re your body’s way of sending you the message that something’s wrong, or that it needs something in particular it’s not getting enough of. 

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