Image of healthy chicken dinnerAlthough our physical activity levels tend to decrease as we age, we still need the same amount of nutrients to be as healthy as possible.

Take advantage of these nutritious, lower-calorie foods to give you the energy to power through the more active days of spring.

  1. Whole grains: Foods with whole grains provide long-lasting energy that keeps you going throughout the day. Refined grains – including white flour and rice – have about 25 percent less protein than whole grain. Have whole wheat toast for breakfast or an antioxidant-full quinoa salad for lunch.
  2. Cold-water fish: The oil in these fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower cholesterol, improve brain function and mood. These fish, including salmon, trout, herring, halibut, and mackerel, are also high in niacin and riboflavin, which help process food into energy.
  3. Dark chocolate: Choose this variety instead of the milk chocolate kind to give your energy and mood a boost. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate as a snack is a nice pick-me-up due to the caffeine and flavanols, which help reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow.
  4. Asparagus: This fiber-rich spring favorite helps lower cholesterol, boost bone strength and boost your mood and energy levels. In the Midwest, asparagus is fresh from April through June. Its versatility – it can be grilled, baked or sautéed – makes it a perfect side to meats or in pasta dishes.
  5. Eggs: Full of protein, hard-boiled eggs are great on their own or as toppings on salads and sandwiches. Have scrambled eggs in the morning with your whole wheat toast for breakfast to get your day off to an energetic start.
  6. Water: It may not be a food, but water serves an invaluable purpose in keeping you energized throughout the day. Plain water is an excellent choice, but those cups of coffee and tea also count toward your daily water consumption. Stay away from sugary drinks such as juices, sodas and sweet coffee beverages.