Sometimes it is difficult to plan ahead when it comes to what you want to eat or need to eat for that matter. There are days where we have no idea what is in store for us and eating the wrong foods through these stressful, busy times can actually make the day a whole lot more stressful and exhausting for us.

Knowing the right foods to eat in any circumstance is crucial – especially in situations when we are exhausted, hungover, stressed or following a late-night out drinking alcohol or a difficult workout. For our bodies to function properly we need to nourish them. If we want to ensure weight-loss, muscle-building and healthy living it is necessary to be educated on what to eat and prepared in advance for anything the day may throw at us!

What to Eat After You’ve Smashed Your Workout!

When you push yourself, your muscles become stressed and broken down. In order to allow them to rebuild themselves, grow and become stronger, they need proper nutrition. You should eat 30 mins – 60 mins after a workout and your meal/snack should be predominantly protein-based with some carbohydrates to replace the glycogen and restore some energy and some fats to keep you fuller for longer.

You could try:

  • All natural nut butter with apple
  • All natural nut butter with a slice of whole wheat toast
  • Greek Yogurt with some peanut butter and dried fruit
  • Eggs (Omlette, Hard boiled, poached, scrambled, etc)
  • Salmon or Oily Fish with some light vegetables
  • Protein rich meat with light vegetables

What to Eat the Morning After the Night Before!

When you’ve drank a few too many the night before, always start the next day with water. Lots of water! Then try replacing some of the lost electrolytes by munching on a banana. Banana’s will replace potassium and other lost electrolytes. Eggs are also a good choice as they contain the amino acid cysteine which can break down toxins still left in the body from the alcohol. Sprinkle some natural sea-salt on your eggs also to replace the salt lost from the alcohol consumption. Finally, you can try the herbal approach and nurse your alcohol-riddled liver back to health by taking a dose of milk thistle and/or fennel seeds. Milk thistle is an incredible herb for soothing the stomach and replacing lost nutrients. Milk thistle and fennel seeds also aid liver function.

What to Eat After a Long Meeting at the Office

If you’re feeling groggy throughout the day at your desk, try munching on some raw nuts. They’ll provide you with fats to fill you up and protein to activate the cells and keep you awake and burning calories. Protein combined with natural essential fats also helps memory function so you might even be able to store what happened during the meeting in your memory for a later date! Protein, not sugar, activates the cells that keep us awake and burning calories.

What to Eat When You’re Exhausted

Researchers at UCLA found that poor sleep increases levels of ghrelin and decreases levels of leptin in the body which inevitably leads to an increased appetite. This can be cured by a good power nap throughout the day but unfortunately most of us don’t have that luxury if we work a 9-5 job. Instead, try eating protein combined with natural fats. The combination of both will keep you feeling fuller for longer and give you more energy to make it through the day.

You could try:

  • Greek Yogurt mixed with some Chai seeds and starchy fruit (banana)
  • Natural nut butter with whole wheat bread
  • Protein rich meat (beef, chicken, turkey) with some avocado and salad
  • Fatty acids in the form of fatty fish (eg: Salmon, mackerel) with a salad

What to Eat When You’re Stressed

Stress is unfortunately a very common part of life in today’s world. The good news is that there are some foods that can help us fight or reduce stress levels on a daily basis.

You could try:

  • Oatmeal in the morning can help fight stress levels at the beginning of a busy day. Oats are a complex carbohydrate that boost serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, responsible for boosting mood and relaxation.
  • Avocados are a great source of potassium which helps lower blood pressure (which spikes when we are stressed).
  • Broccoli is packed full of B-vitamins and folic acid (B9). The B-vitamins collectively are known for relieving stress, anxiety and even fighting depression. Alongside this, the B-vitamins boost energy levels and improve metabolism.
  • Spinach is high in magnesium which fights irritability, indigestion and fatigue in our bodies. Walnuts and salmon are also great sources of magnesium.

What to Eat if You’re Hungry Before Bed

If you get hungry right before bed, especially if you crave something sweet after your evening meal, make sure you’re choosing something that will benefit your body as you sleep. The last thing your body needs before bed is a spike in blood sugar levels. As you sleep you want your body to be burning fat, not converting sugar to fat and storing it.

You could try:

  • Berries: Berries are packed with fibre, take longer to digest and therefore help you feel full. Low in sugar and fat, they’re a great snack before bed.
  • Greek Yogurt is high in protein and calcium. Calcium is considered one of the best minerals for fighting fat and the protein will help build muscle while you sleep. Be sure to choose a plain greek yogurt that is low in sugar otherwise you will spike blood sugars making this snack completely counter-productive!
  • Almonds/Almond Butter: a great source of sleep-promoting and muscle-relaxing magnesium and high in protein to help keep blood sugar levels steady while you sleep and build muscle. Why not try the almond butter with some berries for a yummy dessert before bed!

So just a little guide that might be helpful for some of the difficult days. Food has incredible healing powers and really can help the body in any stressful situation if used properly. Try incorporating some of these foods in to your day if you’re tired, stressed or a little hungover; they may be exactly the natural medicine you need!

Thanks for reading and remember, be smart, eat smart!!

Megan O'Neill

Megan O'Neill is a musician, psychologist, nutrition advisor and an absolute health-nut! She currently resides in London, but - as you may have guessed from the name - is originally from Ireland. Six years ago, following an incredible trip to Asia, she suddenly became very ill with IBS, food intolerances and chronic fatigue. No-one could have predicted how that fateful trip would... Read More

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