Boost your energy: power foods for juggling work and kids

Feeling exhausted by the demands of work and parenthood? Nutritionist Millie Gardner has some advice on how to boost your energy.

A tired mum sitting on the sofa holds her head whilst children run around she needs energy boost


Balancing work and life as a parent is a difficult juggling act. Do you feel the post-lunch slump hitting you in the afternoon? Struggling to stay motivated and alert during your work day? Here are some food and nutrient recommendations that will boost your energy, leave you with enough fuel in the tank and have you conquering deadlines and bedtime stories with ease.

Protein breakfasts

Protein rich breakfasts are a great way to support your energy through the day. Particularly for women, high protein breakfasts can really help support your hormones and energy levels through the day. You want to be aiming for around 30g a day. This helps balance your blood sugar and therefore your energy levels and hormones. Here are some suggestions for what that may look like:

  • 1-2 cups of natural yoghurt – topped with seeds and/or berries
  • 1-2 scoops of protein powder – protein shakes, added to yoghurt, porridge, chia puddings, overnight oats etc.
  • 1 cup of organic tofu or tempeh – tofu scramble or tempeh ‘bacon’
  • 3-5 organic eggs – scrambled on sourdough

Protein boosters – These are some foods you can add to your breakfasts to increase the amount of protein in your meal:

  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nut butters


Magnesium is super important for keeping us energised! It helps our body do more than 300 biochemical reactions, like turning the food we eat into energy. Think of it like a helper for special enzymes that make the energy our cells need to work. So, when we have enough magnesium, we feel more energetic and ready to take on the day. Recommended daily intakes vary depending on age, but for adults it is around 420mg a day, and could really help boost your energy in the longer term. Here are some foods that will help you reach that target:

  • Spinach – ½ a cup boiled provides 78mg of magnesium
  • Dark chocolate – approx. 200mg per 100g-
  • Pumpkin seeds – 1 large handful (30g) provides 156mg of magnesium
  • Chia – 1 large handful (30g) provides 111mg of magnesium
  • Almonds – 1 large handful (30g) provides 80mg of magnesium
  • Avocado – 1 medium avocado provides 58mg of magnesium

Prebiotic and Probiotic foods

Having a healthy gut microbiome is integral to having energy and reducing fatigue. How well your gut is functioning directly affects how much nutrients we can get from our food and therefore how energised we can feel. Sluggish gut = feeling sluggish. Prebiotics are plant fibres that help healthy bacteria grow in your gut and probiotics are bacteria and yeasts that are good for your gut. Here are some of the foods to get your gut feeling happy:

Prebiotic foods:

  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Leafy greens e.g. kale

Probiotics foods:

  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh

As you navigate the busy world of work and parenthood, remember that helping to boost your energy is part of taking care of yourself – and this is key to staying on top of your game. By incorporating these foods into your daily routine, you will fuel your body and have more energy to cope with the day to day challenges of being a working mum. So, here’s to more productive workdays and memorable moments with your little ones!

Millie Gardner is a certified Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist (DipCNM, mANP, mGNC). She specialises in women’s health issues, supporting women with period and hormonal imbalance issues, including peri-menopause and menopause. If you are interested in working with her to receive tailored nutrition and supplement advice, you can book a free 30-minute connection call here to find out more.

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