Top 9 Energy Boosting Foods
When most of us feel sluggish and want a big energy boost, we make a huge mistake: we go straight for the sugar-filled food choices. Candy, cookies, potato chips (pure starch!), soda, latte. Though we probably feel way better for a few minutes, the sugar crash is nearby.
Then we will have even less energy than we started with.
The key for boosting your energy with food is to choose meals and snacks filled with nutritious, yet satisfying foods, that give you a productive and alert jolt not just in this moment, but for hours to come. Sustaining that energy is the best way to feel great and stay active throughout your entire day.
Below you will find some of the ultimate energy-boosting foods.
Top Energy-Boosting Foods
You will soon discover these foods have a lot in common – they are low in added sugar, high in fiber and protein, and rich in nutrients that encourage your body’s natural energy production – like magnesium, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins. But don’t worry…they taste great too.
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1. Almonds & Other Nuts or Seeds
Nuts are all-around perfect energy foods. You get high protein and fat, which keeps you full and energetic for a long time. Plus, you’re getting a good dose of vitamin B –one of the top nutrients needed for serious energy. Nuts like almonds are also high in magnesium which helps with energy metabolism.
Seeds also make excellent snacks filled with helpful zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and more.
2. Kale, Spinach & Other Leafy Greens
Let’s be honest – leafy greens could probably make any sort of “must eat” food list. They have countless nutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids. And hello fiber! On top of all that energetic goodness, one of their biggest benefits is iron, which just so happens to play a huge role in producing the body’s energy (many women are iron deficient, so eat up!).
Though a little side salad or green smoothie can be great – making your own homemade kale chips can satisfy the mid-day crunch without the mid-day crash.
3. Bananas, Apples, and Other Fresh Fruit
Fruit is the ultimate pick-me-up energy booster – they are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals that keep you going strong all day. And they’re filled with healthy carbs and healthy sugars.
But here’s the secret: if you only eat the fruit, you may still experience some sugar crash. Here are a few tips to keep the energy you’re getting from fruit lasting for hours to come.
- Eat the whole fruit. Apple skin, berry seeds, etc. are fibrous and important parts of keeping your blood sugar stabilized. This means juicing your fruits is not as good of an idea as blending them into a smoothie or eating them whole.
- Add in some protein. Having a scoop of high-quality protein powder in your smoothie, a few nuts, or a hardboiled egg along with your fruit can introduce enough protein into your body to help you feel stabilized.
4. Quinoa, Oatmeal, and Other Whole Grains
Carbs are often described as the enemy – but when eaten correctly, you just can’t beat the energy boost they give you. The goal is to avoid refined carbs that give you a similar sugar high to cakes and candy.
Whole grains are the perfect alternative to some of your sugar crash choices like sugary cereals. Making a bowl of oatmeal will give you those carbs that help you feel more energetic, but the fiber and protein content helps make it more stable. Adding a scoop of quinoa to your lunch is a fabulous choice too.
Whole grains are also filled with minerals like manganese that helps turn protein and carbs into energy.
5. Eggs, Salmon, and Other Proteins
Can’t go wrong with tasty protein!
Salmon is high in B vitamins (yay) and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory in nature. That means they can make your body feel better and even support a balanced, uplifted mood – all of which will help increase your energy.
Egg yolks are another great source of B vitamins. And eggs have an amino acid called leucine which stimulates the production of energy.
6. Yogurt, Sauerkraut & and Other Fermented Foods
Fermented foods offer you probiotics. Probiotics give your gut an extra dose of healthy, helpful, good bacteria. Since your gut is the epicenter of your immune system, your body will be healthier and happier.
All of the health benefits of fermented foods and probiotics will undoubtedly keep your body feeling more energized.
To top it off, Greek yogurt is protein packed and satisfying. Sauerkraut can make a tasty and zesty little snack. You can’t go wrong.
7. Hummus & Other Beans
Beans are incredible little food items that help you balance your blood sugar by providing a good amount of carbs with high protein and high fiber.
Hummus (made with garbanzo beans) is one of the easiest and tastiest high-energy snacks. Another great choice is roasted chickpeas. Learn how to make them here:
8. Coffee, Green Tea & Other Caffeinated Beverages
These may not be “foods” nor are they much of a surprise on an energy-boosting list, but caffeinated beverages are still worth mentioning – mostly because it’s important to know a few rules that prevent energy backfire.
- Never go for the soda, even the artificially sweetened soda. Both sugar and artificial sweeteners are inflammatory and terrible for your body. They will zap your energy.
- Avoid heavily sweetened creamers or additions – things like flavored cream or honey will still lead to that major crash.
9. Dark Chocolate
Our last energy-boosting food may be your favorite of them all. Chocolate itself is packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients – plus it even has a mild, yet effective dose of caffeine. The problem with most chocolate choices isn’t the chocolate itself, but all the sugar and other additives that make it sweetly delicious.
Choosing a square or two of dark chocolate allows you to get a small caffeine boost without all the sugar.
What About “Energy” Bars?
Unless you’ve really done your research to find a brand that creates a wonderful macronutrient breakdown and healthy ingredients without fillers, most “power” bars or “energy” bars are just about as good for you as a Snickers bar. Avoid them.
Tips for Energy-Boosting Foods
Here are a few ways you can make sure these energy-boosting foods are working for you.
- Morning Smoothie: Here’s a video that shows you how to make a delicious breakfast smoothie that has fruit, protein, and nut milk!
- Homemade trail mix: Almonds, goji berries, and a few dark chocolate chips make a wonderful little trail mix.
- Kale Salad: Salmon, quinoa, and veggies
At the end of the day, most of these foods aren’t going to help you feel any better if you’re still dehydrated. When you need an extra boost, don’t only turn to one of these tasty snack options. Also pour yourself an extra glass of water.
Supplement When Needed
Depending upon what you’re trying to get done, you may need more of a boost than a snack alone. One of the best things you can do for sustained energy is combine caffeine with an all-natural amino acid called l-theanine (it’s actually from green tea).
Where caffeine gives you the jolt pick-me-up, the l-theanine helps calm any jitters or anxiety, so you can have easy, sustainable, and focused energy.
Eat Better and Feel More Energetic
There really isn’t anybody who would say they want to feel less energetic throughout their day. All of us are looking for an extra boost to help us stay productive and alert. By trading out some of your snacks and side dishes for these energy-boosting foods, you are encouraging your body to help you feel energetic and ready to go all day long.