Managing Your Diet for Better Energy Levels: 7 Handy Tips for Parents

Being a parent is a rewarding experience, but it can be tiring, too. If you’re caring for your kids and often forget to do the same for yourself, The Guardian reports that you may be experiencing parental burnout.

This condition is caused by chronic parental stress and manifests through mental and physical exhaustion. With it being most prevalent in countries like the US, chances are you’re experiencing this condition yourself.

The best way to remedy parental burnout is by allocating more time for self-care. However, doing so may be easier said than done if you’re juggling a lot on your plate.

Don’t worry: you can always start slow by looking at easy lifestyle changes you can make to boost your energy. That way, you can keep doing what you need to do as a parent without sacrificing your health in the process.

Your diet is one of the best places to start. After all, our own Fern Winfrey explained that food is fuel for your body—so making a few tweaks will give you the physical energy booster you need. Here’s more on how to manage your diet, achieve better energy levels as a parent, and more sustainably keep up with your kids!

1. Prioritize Nutrition

Prioritize Nutrition

If you quickly get fatigued while with your kids, you may not be eating the right food. Beyond causing weight gain, CNBC writes that foods that are processed or contain artificial sugar can inflame your gut, affecting the amount of energy the body can absorb from them.

That’s also why overweight individuals get tired more easily. So, if pastries, soda, and fried foods like fried chicken are often in your meal plan, it’s time to eat healthier.

That doesn’t mean you should restrict your meals. Instead, try eating nutrient-dense foods more frequently than processed foods. For this, you can emulate the WeightWatchers weight loss program since it promotes gut health for sustainable weight loss and encourages the consumption of the same healthy foods that can boost your energy.

That includes nutritional powerhouses like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and white meat, which contain the complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein needed to effectively fuel your body. Incorporate more of these into your meals, and you won’t get so easily fatigued while parenting.

2. Shift Away from The Three-Meals-A-Day Timeframe

Having breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a foundational habit that may be hard to shake. Yet eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can actually enhance the energy-boosting properties of a nutrient-dense diet. Much like how you’d fuel a car, doing so ensures you never run on an empty tank by helping you maintain a consistent blood sugar level.

Despite this, it’s still vital to follow the advice you’re probably telling your kids: make sure breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. A nutritious morning meal will kickstart your metabolic processes and ensure you have enough energy to last till bedtime.

Conversely, research from the NIH found that skipping breakfast can increase fatigue and worsen your mood—two things you don’t want to experience while you’re with your kids. You can have two small meals in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon to keep you satiated between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That way, you can maintain consistent blood sugar and energy levels to keep up with your kids!

3. Drink Coffee Wisely

If you rely on coffee to give you the energy you need for parenting, it may help to know that there’s actually a right and wrong way to drink it. Former Google employees Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky reveal in their book Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day that if you don’t caffeinate in line with your natural energy levels, you’re more likely to be tired than energized.

The book states that the best time to drink coffee is around 9:30 AM when your body spikes your cortisol or stress levels in an attempt to wake you up. From here, try to have your last cup of coffee before the energy crash most people have right after lunch.

If you take it after this time, you won’t get an energy boost, may have trouble sleeping at night, and have the aftereffects of that tiredness snowball into the next day. That’s because it takes your body four to six hours to get rid of caffeine. Outside these hours, be sure to drink water instead. Dehydration causes fatigue, so hydration can maintain coffee’s energy benefits after you’ve had your fill for the day.

Managing your diet can give you the energy you need to be a great parent all day, every day.

4. Work out Regularly

Achieving sustainable energy levels as a parent goes beyond dietary changes; it involves incorporating holistic lifestyle adjustments. Regular physical activity is a key component.

The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly, which can significantly boost your energy levels. Consider family-friendly activities such as walks, bike rides, or even playing sports together.

5. Sleep to Improve Your Energy

Sleep to Improve Your Energy

Quality sleep is another crucial factor. Create a bedtime routine for yourself, ensuring you get enough restorative sleep each night. The National Sleep Foundation suggests aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep for adults. Adequate sleep not only improves your energy but also enhances your mood and overall well-being.

6. Learn how To Manage Your Stress

Additionally, stress management techniques can make a significant impact. Incorporate mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises, into your daily routine to alleviate stress. The American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of stress reduction for heart health, and it can undoubtedly contribute to better overall energy levels.

7. Drink Enough Water

Drink Enough Water

Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day, as dehydration can lead to fatigue. Keep a water bottle handy, and encourage your kids to embrace this healthy habit as well. Finally, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or professional resources.

Parenting is a shared journey, and sharing responsibilities can help lighten the load, allowing you to focus on maintaining your energy and well-being. Embracing a holistic approach to self-care will not only benefit you but create a positive and energetic environment for your entire family.


Remember, self-care is not a luxury but a necessity, and making time for it is an investment in your ability to be a great parent. Embrace a balanced lifestyle that aligns with your natural energy patterns, incorporates healthy habits, and seeks support when needed. By nurturing your physical and mental health, you’ll not only enhance your energy levels but also create a positive environment for yourself and your family.

As you navigate the rewarding yet challenging path of parenthood, continue exploring strategies and insights that promote your well-being. Your commitment to self-care not only benefits you but sets a positive example for your children, fostering a culture of holistic health and resilience within your family.