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FOOD TIPS

Published January 25. 2010 05:00PM

Not only what you eat, but when you eat can have a profound effect on your energy level.

Follow these simple rules to keep yourself energized all day long.

Eat regular meals and snacks: The golden rule for high-energy eating is to keep your blood sugar (a/k/a glucose) steady by never going more than four or five hours without eating. Glucose is the brain's main fuel. When it dips you get that foggy tired feeling. Prevent that and stay energized by giving your brain and your body a steady flow of food.

Include some protein in each meal: Lean meat, fish, beans, egg, low-fat dairy and nuts all count as protein. So get that pasta dish with some chicken and shrimp in it, or add beans and nuts to your lunch salad.

Avoid large meals: No one knows exactly why, but large fatty meals make you feel tired. Keeping meals light helps keep you energized. So put down your fork when you reach a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 equals starving and 10 equals "Thanksgiving full").

• Stay well hydrated: Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration, so make sure you drink enough. On average, women need nine cups of fluid a day and men need 13. But everyone is different. How do you know you're drinking enough? Your thirst is actually a pretty accurate guide. So here's some down-home advice: If you are thirsty, drink.

(For more information, visit www.foodnetwork.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)

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