What are some recipes that will up my energy level?
February 11, 2005 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I need advice on energy-bestowing foods. I'm currently in my 5th month of pregnancy, I work full time, I have a toddler, and I am about to drop. I'd like some suggestions (and preferably recipes) for foods that might up my energy level, so I can drop the zombie mom routine. [+]

Part of my problem is my diet - I don't eat beef or pork, I have to avoid cold deli meat, and I'm scared to eat too much fish. I'm getting sick of my bean soup recipes, so I was hoping for more ideas. Is there any validity to the superfood phenomenon that all the cool kids are talking about these days? Any good recipes, like a low sugar pumpkin bread or the like? I'm looking primarily for dishes that are quick and portable and will keep my ass off the floor until 10pm or so.
posted by bibliowench to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm already vegetarian, but I just switched to a new diet: eat all the raw fruits and vegetables and nuts I can stand in addition to my normal foods. My energy level has doubled. This last week's stress, abnormal amount of exercise and lack of sleep normally would have left me a basket-case, exhausted as well as depressed and anxious, but I'm totally fine.

This is in response to iconomy's results with raw foods, by the way. She has some great recipes, and some are totally simple.
(Want to join us on that blog?)
posted by Shane at 8:26 AM on February 11, 2005

How's your intake of other protien sources like peanut butter or chicken? What about fruits? When I was pregnant and dragging, I kept sandwich baggies at hand with cheddar crackers, vegi sticks, cheese, and other easy to manage finger food. Cheerios and raisins are not just for toddlers. Does snacking through the day help more than trying to handle regular meals?
posted by onhazier at 8:40 AM on February 11, 2005

Eggs, eggs, eggs. Hard boiled eggs work well. Lots of protein. Also, you might want to check your prenatal vitamin against the DRI for pregnant women (check the Life Stage column). Link to PDF.
posted by grateful at 8:46 AM on February 11, 2005

Complex carbohydrates-- that's the source of sustained energy. In addition to beans, I would eat oatmeal, brown rice, lentils, and whole wheat. Sweet potatoes are a fabulous source of dense nutrition. I would ixney on the cheerios-- refined sugar is not your friend.

Caribbean Sweet Potato casserole
Sauce: Mix together
1 garlic clove
2 TB lime juice
2 1/2 C coconut milk (Ok to use lite)
2 TB chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt

2 large sweet potatoes sliced thin
1 C cooked rice
1 C black beans

Heat oven to 350. Pour 1/3 of sauce into bottom of baking dish. Layer 1/2 the filling ingredients. Pour 1/3 more of the sauce, rest of the filling and finally the rest of the sauce. Bake for 60 minutes.

Note: This recipe may seem a little bit daunting if you don't cook much or have small children. But really it's a question of having shopped for the items and having the rice already cooked. So plan for this. Make 3 cups of rice the day before, maybe and set one cup aside. The recipe can also be topped with cracker crumbs moistened with olive oil and a sprinkle of cumin.

posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:55 AM on February 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

I forgot to mention that 2 1/2 C (20 oz) is more than one can of coconut milk. You can either use the leftover for an exotic smoothy or else just use one can and cut back a little on the sweet potato (maybe use 1 and 1/2 of a potato.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:02 AM on February 11, 2005

Stirring together pineapple juice, orange juice and ginger ale (one third each roughly but do it the way you like) and half-orange half-carrot juice I find really perks me up when I need it. Perhaps these drinks are worth a shot. (drop a little grenadine in the first drink and add an umbrella and it's a nice alcohol free cocktail!)

I'll also second the egg thing. Eggs are fantastic and versatile, omelettes with whites only are light and help perk up the mornings, add mushrooms tomatoes or whatever you prefer.
posted by dabitch at 9:05 AM on February 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

I had the same issue when I was pregnant...and I didn't even have a toddler to take care of, so I can't imagine how you are surviving! I pretty much threw out all of my normal dietary restrictions and focused on getting as much protein as I could in my body...I was a vegetarian before getting pregnant, but started eating chicken and even steak sandwiches (yuck!)...but it definitely helped my energy levels, most noticeably making it easier to wake up in the mornings.

Also...just a suggestion though I'm sure your doc is on top of this...are you anemic or almost-anemic? Because iron supplements also helped me tremendously as far as energy levels went. There is a certain type that is most easily absorbed into the body--ferrous-fumerate, I think...?
posted by eileen at 9:55 AM on February 11, 2005

Definately consider the iron thing. Pregnant women neend more iron and it can have a dramatic effect on your energy levels. Talk to your doc about it. I had to add iron when I was expecting. Just be sure to eat a lot of fibre-rich foods as well because iron can lead to constipation and lots of fruits and veggies can help combat that side effect. Foods w/iron (other than red meat) include: lentils, molasses, leafy dark green veggies (like spinach and borccoli).
posted by raedyn at 10:09 AM on February 11, 2005

If you hate oatmeal, but still want to try it, McCann's makes the best oatmeal ever. Even the long-prep stuff in the tin can be made faster if you plan ahead, it's whole grain, and it kicks the butt of the Quaker Oat guy. Add peanut butter and you have an energy-laden breakfast.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:21 AM on February 11, 2005

It's not in fashion with the Atkins people, but I find a bowl of vegetarian pasta gives me more energy than anything else. Here's my favorite recipe... it can be made in about 15 minutes:
Tomato Basil Pasta

1 lb. dry pasta (I like to use penne, farfalle or linguine)
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (roma are best, and usually less expensive)
1 bunch of fresh basil
2 or 3 garlic cloves, depending on size
1 lemon
olive oil
fresh ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the pasta. Cook until al dente, usually 7-8 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking...

2. Chop the tomatoes into roughly half inch cubes.

3. Chop or shred the basil.

4. Mince the garlic, removing the green root (I leave it for cooked garlic, remove it from raw recipes.)

5. Use a grater to scrape the zest off the lemon if it's organic, or slice and use the juice if it's not.

6. Once the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot and add three or four tablespoons of olive oil and all the chopped/minced ingredients.

7. Mix and serve, topping with lemon, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste.
The ingredients are lightly steamed by being mixed with the hot pasta, with brings out the bright flavors of the tomato and basil. The lemon, salt and pepper enhance it even more. One of my favorites, and it's quick! Good luck.
posted by letitrain at 11:28 AM on February 11, 2005

Just as an aside: stay hydrated. It really makes a difference in your energy level. A gatorade is 2x better than coffee after 12:00 noon.
posted by scarabic at 12:46 PM on February 11, 2005

I second gatorade and iron. Eat those leafy greens.
posted by mai at 4:05 PM on February 11, 2005

« Older SSRIs   |   Mirror Mirror On the Wall Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.