The Best Foods that Provide an All-Day Energy Boost
Food is the fuel of life, so it pays to pack your diet with nutrient-rich foods that give you the energy you need to get through your day. These foods, which are high in protein, vitamins and minerals, are effective when eaten alone, but when combined with other superfoods, can give you the energy boost you need to power you throughout the day.
Bananas are deceptively simple power machines. Packed with potassium, complex carbohydrates and Vitamin B6, they can keep you energized for hours. Low in fat, they are a great addition to whole grain cereals, smoothies and salads. Eating a banana before a workout can instantly raise your energy levels and help you develop better efficiency. (1)
Salmon and tuna are known as brain food for a reason. Jam packed with omega-3 fatty acids, these high protein foods will give you energy for days. Just one serving of salmon can provide you with the daily recommendation of Vitamin B12,(2) which is known for its energy-boosting qualities. Because of its high (good) fat content, salmon and tuna keep you fuller longer, making it an excellent choice for someone who is watching their weight.
Who would have thought that such a small potato could pack such an energy punch? Sweet potatoes contain up to 25 grams of complex carbohydrates, three grams of fiber and more than 500 percent of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. Because sweet potatoes are so high in fiber, your body digests them slowly, keeping you full and energized longer.
The incredible egg is certainly a team player when it comes to helping you keep your energy levels high throughout the day. Eggs are rich in amino acids, protein and B vitamins. A favorite of body builders, athletes and healthy eaters, eggs are versatile and easy to add to your diet. A boiled egg at breakfast, on top of a salad or just cooked in olive oil is a simple meal that will keep you full while delivering a huge energy dose.
Oats have properties that are vital to the energy production process. Oats are high in manganese, iron and vitamin B, and they set to work immediately, helping your heart pump more efficiently and keeping you alert for the entire day. Oats are not only a high-energy superfood, but a versatile staple for healthy diets. You can add oats to smoothies, eat them raw or cook them and add blueberries and bananas for a protein punch.
A tasty snack made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, sesame seed paste and oil, hummus is one of the best high-energy foods to add to your diet. Hummus are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Combined, these two nutrients are broken down slowly, keeping you full longer and helping you to avoid hunger between meals. Eat hummus with carrots or broccoli for even more energy. Hummus comes in a variety of flavors, so many people eat it as a main meal or pair it with raw vegetables for even more energy and calories.
Avocadoes are at the top of any healthy eater's list, and for good reason. Filled with the "good fats," these low calorie fruits are rich in fiber and B vitamins. They contain about 85 percent of the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are the building blocks of the brain and help to keep weight down while keeping energy up.(3) Avocadoes are often used in smoothies, protein shakes, protein bowls and salads. In addition, their high fiber content means that they will stay in your system longer, a benefit when you're trying to curb your appetite or power through a workout.
Speaking of energy-boosting fruits, strawberries hold their own when it comes to fueling the body. Strawberries are known for their antioxidant properties and provide carbs and fiber to fuel workouts or even just a day at the office. Strawberries are also high in vitamin C, and contain minerals that help fight fatigue. Strawberries act as natural sweeteners and are great additions to salads, smoothies, oatmeal and salads.
Some great high-energy combination meals: -Oats with strawberries and blueberries
-Avocado toast with strawberries
-Smoothies with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt and almonds
-Arugula salad with boiled eggs, onions and strawberries
Almonds are often included in high-energy nut mixes like trail mix and are a favorite of bodybuilders. High in protein, the body takes its time breaking down these superfoods, and they will leave you with energy for the entire day. They are chock full of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Almonds can also provide a filler for smoothies, cereals and salads, giving you all the protein you need to keep you going all day.
Similar to nuts, seeds are small diet additions that can make a huge difference when you need a shot of energy. Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids that have been known to increase energy. They are high in fiber and protein and digest slowly, giving you a slow release of energy throughout the day. Seeds are also vegan-friendly, so they are an easy addition to any diet. Some common ideas for seeds are:
-A banana smoothie with chia seeds, almonds and Greek yogurt
-Kale salad with walnuts, dried fruits, sunflower kernels and a boiled egg
Greek yogurt is high in calcium, fiber and magnesium and is an excellent addition to help fuel your day. Because Greek yogurt is filled with the simple sugars of lactose and galactose, which break down into fuel, it is an excellent power booster. Greek yogurt is versatile and can be added to oats or topped with fruit for a healthy snack. For a power boost of a treat, try making a raw oats, Greek yogurt, almond and blueberry parfait.
Great as a snack or a mid-day pick me up, edamame is a significant source of fiber, protein and carbs. Just one cup of these crispy beans will provide you with a full day's serving of 27 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat soluble fiber and 21 grams of complex carbohydrates. Edamame is also high in folic acid, one of the building blocks of a healthy pregnancy. When combined with iron, folic acid is also effective at fighting fatigue and anemia.
Known for their immune boosting properties, high amounts of Vitamin C and potassium, oranges are a sweet way to keep your energy up all day long. Oranges are also packed with antioxidants that help them to fight stress and muscle fatigue. Studies have shown that women who consumed orange juice in addition to regular workouts experienced improvement in physical performance over a period of weeks. (5)
Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and collards are healthy energy boosters and are high in calcium and a cocktail of other nutrients that keep you energized. Packed with iron, they help stave off anemia, which is closely linked with feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Leafy green vegetables are also essential in forming nitric oxide, helping with blood flow through the body. (4) Leafy green vegetables are often used in smoothies, salads, shakes and as side dishes. Great meal options include:
-Kale salad with walnuts, strawberries, edamame and onion
-Green smoothie with kale, spinach, blueberries and kiwi
-Romaine salad with boiled egg, almonds, tomatoes and a banana
Heart-healthy beans have a good, well-deserved reputation in the world of superfoods. The list of the health benefits of beans goes on and on. In addition to delivering massive amounts of protein, carbs and fiber, they digest slowly, helping to give you a steady source of energy throughout the day. Beans are easy to prepare and add to other dishes to boost the protein content. Black beans, black eyed peas, lentils and navy beans are some of the favorites of healthy eaters. When paired with brown rice, beans are one of the best foods you can eat to restore your energy and strengthen your muscles.
Dark chocolate is a natural mood booster, and with less sugar than cocoa and milk chocolate, a great snack that will give you more energy. Dark chocolate has been known to increase blood flow, aid in the delivery of oxygen to the muscles and get blood flowing to the brain. Because dark chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine, it also works as a stimulant, getting the heart pumping and blasting you with energy. Many people eat dark chocolate before workouts or in power smoothies to fuel their workouts. Mixed with nuts and dried blueberries, dark chocolate can be an excellent addition for a homemade trail mix.
When it comes to the best foods for energy, the superfoods really do heavy duty, from giving the body an antioxidant boost to keeping the blood circulating. Nuts, beans, oranges, avocadoes and dark chocolate are just a few of the delicious foods that you can add to your diet to help you keep going efficiently throughout the day.
- (2) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-salmon
- (3) https://dahlc.mayoclinic.org/2019/04/26/superfood-of-the-month-avocado/
- (4) https://thefoodiephysician.com/ingredient-911-kale-super-food/
- (5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20729016/