Eat right, exercise to increase energy

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Smart snaking: Snacks such as peanuts, sunflower seeds and dried fruits help maintain a high energy level. | Photo by

If you’re determined to be more energetic this new year, there are some common sense ways to do so. Getting a balance of protein and nutrients in your diet is the key to keeping your energy up all day. That means making sure you eat a variety of whole grains, fruit, veggies and protein at each meal. The next time you feel your energy flagging, consider this advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts:

For starters, have a good breakfast. After many hours of fasting, a nutritious breakfast helps provide energy for an active day. A breakfast filled with a balance of nutrients—protein, grains, fruit and dairy—will give your brain as well as your body what it needs to get you through the morning at your best.

Next, get moving. Getting a little physical activity each day, activities like taking a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or mowing the lawn, can help you build strong bones and muscles, reduce body fat and feel great. Being active uses energy, and you’ll feel invigorated.

Finally, snack smart. Rather than empty calories, enjoy something like the 24-7 Energy Snack Mix, which consists of: two cups of roasted peanuts, one cup of toasted sunflower seeds, a quarter cup of dried mango (diced), a quarter cup of dried apples (diced) and a half of cup of M&Ms. Toss the ingredients together in large bowl. Portion a quarter of a cup servings into plastic snack bags. It makes 16 servings.

An important part of that snack is the protein you get from the peanuts. “Peanuts are a powerhouse of protein,” dietitian Sherry Coleman Collins says. “With seven grams per serving, peanuts contain more protein than any nut. Protein is one of the essential nutrients in life. It is important not only for growing children but also for maintaining muscles, bones and skin throughout life.”

Moreover, peanuts are a natural source of plant-based protein. Collins recommends choosing more plant-based proteins as part of a healthy lifestyle. The government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans specifically point out the need for a shift in food intake to a more plant-based diet; one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Whether you’re a vegetarian or looking to cut down on saturated fat levels, peanuts can be a smart choice when looking for a boost of protein in any meal.

For further peanut facts, tips and recipes, go to the National Peanut Board website at

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