Snowstorms, dreary days, and lack of sunshine — winter months are hard. If we’re being honest, we all have our days where we just can’t seem to power through our to-do lists and cozeying up under the covers until March seems like a viable life option. Feeling blue and lethargic during the snowy season affects more people than you’d think with around 14 percent of the population showing mild to severe symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. While this seasonal related mood disorder negatively impacts a lot of us, one of its symptoms — fatigue — is likely felt by an even larger proportion of people.
Fatigue or ‘adrenal fatigue‘ as some call it, is not a medically recognized condition but its symptoms — body aches, sugar and salt cravings, dizziness, anxiety, and feeling worn out and tired all the time — are very real to a lot of people suffering from them. The theory is that our adrenal glands which are part of our endocrine system become overworked due to severe stress, as well as poor diet and lifestyle choices. As a consequence, they seize to do their job in producing the hormones we need to feel good.
As such, ‘hibernal fatigue’ is not a specific condition but rather relates to the general feeling of lethargy and being worn out we get as the winter months progress. While no doctor can prescribe medication for ‘hibernal fatigue’, the food we eat can impact our energy levels and help us get out of that ‘slump’.
Note: If you think you might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, please seek out the advice of your physician or any other medical professional for proper treatment.
Want to get some pep back in your step to brave the next snowstorm? Here are 8 foods with great recipe ideas from the Food Monster App that will nourish you and energize you!
Lentil Quinoa Hemp Seed Meatballs/One Green Planet
Packed with healthy fats, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals, hemp seeds make a great addition to smoothies, sauces, dressings, and salads for a nutrition punch. These little seeds will also give you a boost of energy due to their richness in magnesium, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins which help our immune system functions. A deficiency in these vitamins and minerals is linked to lethargy and fatigue symptoms so getting your fill by eating hemp seeds will dispel your hibernal fatigue in no time!
Not sure how to include hemp seeds into your recipes? We suggest trying out these Activated Buckwheat and Hempseed Blender Pancakes, these Black Bean Hemp Burgers, this Chickpea Fusilli in Hemp Tahini Sauce, and this Sunny Hemp Cheeze. You won’t regret it!
Serrano Pepper Avocado Toast/One Green Planet
The queen of healthy fats is a great energy booster as it’s an amazing source of omega-3s which are essential for proper brain functions and our immune system. Omega-3s help lower our stress levels by their positive effect on cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for symptoms of fatigue. Including avocado in your daily diet is also a good way to reduce inflammation in your body which will help you feel better overall.
If you’re looking for delicious and creamy avocado recipes, you have to try out these Latkes With Fennel and Avocado Tartare, this Avocado and Cashew ‘Cheese’ Spread Sandwich, these Cheesy Tempeh Stuffed Avocados, and these Curried Chickpea and Avocado Sweet Potatoes.
Edamame Seaweed Salad/One Green Planet
If you’re not familiar, edamame is actually another name for soybeans. These young unripe soybeans are rich in plant-based protein which will help your body level out your hormones and relieve stress-induced fatigue. Its abundance in amino acids also makes it a great energy-booster as these are essential for optimal brain functions and the regulation of neurotransmitters involved with our mood, attention, and arousal.
Endive Salad With Crispy Chickpeas/One Green Planet
This plant-based staple is a nutrition powerhouse that will without a doubt help you take charge of your to-do list. Rich in folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc (phew!), chickpeas benefit our brain and endocrine system. Their mineral content has a positive effect on our neurochemistry and hormone production which means that including them will help you level out your mood and reduce your stress. As a good source of complex carbohydrates, chickpeas also ensure we get clean fuel to sustain our daily activities without any crash thanks to its fiber content.
Get your fill of this delicious legume by making this Spanish Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew, this Cranberry Chickpea Salad Sandwich, this Tofu and Chickpea Polpette With Marinara Sauce, and this Iranian Eggplant and Chickpeas Stew. We also suggest checking out these 28 Super Creative Chickpea Recipes.
Spaghetti With Green Tahini Sauce and Brazil Nut Parmesan/One Green Planet
As Popeye’s favorite, it makes sense that spinach can give us loads of energy. This dark leafy green is packed with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, E, and K as well as folate. Aside from its impressive nutritional profile, spinach is also rich in antioxidants that aid in lowering inflammation in our body and help regulate our hormonal functions.
Spinach not your favorite? You’ll change your mind with recipes like these Spinach Meatballs in Spicy Sauce, this Greek Spinach and Orzo Soup, this Pumpkin Alfredo With Spinach and Corn, and these Spinach and Pepper Potato Bowls that will energize you in no time!
Goji and Wild Rice Bowl/One Green Planet
Rich in zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, and manganese, wild rice will have your energy running (cheesy pun, intended!) wild. Technically a grass, wild rice is also richer in protein than most types of grains and it’s gluten-free which makes it a great option if you have digestive issues that impact your energy. In short, choosing wild rice as a source of healthy carbohydrate in your diet is a great idea to ensure your body gets all the amino acids it needs to regulate your hormones and alleviate hibernal fatigue.
Not sure how to cook with wild rice? Don’t fret! We have loads of recipes for you to try. Some of our favorites include this Wild Rice Pilaf With Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans, this Wild Rice and Beet Salad with Muhammara Bean Purée, this Pumpkin Chili With Wild Rice, and these Rosemary Wild Rice Stuffed Mushrooms.
Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese With Tofu Bacon/One Green Planet
Nutritional yeast or ‘nooch’ is not only a flavorful addition to pretty much anything, it’s also a great energy-booster thanks to its high content in vitamin B12. This vitamin is important for brain functions and can help relieve fatigue due to its role in the production of red blood cells which support our immune system. Vitamin B12 is also essential for fat and carbohydrate metabolism, a process which is evidently required to fuel our body. Making sure you get enough vitamin B12 is paramount if you suffer from fatigue as it’s one of the main symptoms of a deficiency.
Not familiar with nutritional yeast yet? Get acquainted with its delicious cheesy taste by making these Raw Parmesan Shards, this ‘Cheesy’ Tofu Scramble, and this Green Chili Nacho Cheese Sauce. You can thank us later!
Grilled Tofu Steaks With Orange Ginger Glaze/One Green Planet
If you’re a Green Monster, this protein-packed plant-based staple doesn’t need an introduction. However, did you know that it can greatly impact your energy levels since it contains all essential amino acids? Making tofu an important part of your diet can thus help prevent and alleviate symptoms of fatigue thanks to the positive effect its content in amino acids has on hormone regulation, immune system functions, and brain chemistry.
Want to get better at cooking delicious tofu every single time? Check out our guide on How to Make the Perfect Baked Tofu and these 10 Saucy and Flavorful Ways to Cook Tofu. Then, we suggest you make this Spicy Sausage and Tofu Breakfast Burrito, this Maple Miso Tofu With Butternut Squash and Broccoli, this Smoky Tofu Bolognese, and this Pineapple and Peanut Sauce Tofu Wrap.
What are your favorite plant-based sources of energy? Did we skip any? Let us know in the comments!
Also, if you want to get more info on the impact of nutrition on your mental health and energy levels, as well as tips and tricks to get better at self care, you should check out these articles:
- Totally Zen Out With These 7 Top Foods That Can Lower Your Stress Levels
- Got the Winter Blues? Brighten Your Day With These Colorful Healthy Dishes
- 5 Tweaks You Can Make to Your Diet to Help Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Plant-Based Foods and Herbs That Help Adrenal Fatigue
- 10 Healthy Sources of Carbs That Can Improve Your Mood and Boost Energy Levels
- 10 Foods That Can Help You Boost Your Productivity
Last but not least, if you want to find more recipes that will energize you and fill your body with nutrition, you can also download the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Shutterstock