The crash hit me hard. It was only mid-afternoon, but I felt tired and my lack of energy was definitely affecting my productivity. Haven’t we all been here at some point? The truth is that the type of food we ingest plays an important role in determining our energy levels throughout the day. Even though all foods give you energy, some foods contain nutrients that not only boost your energy level, but helps maintain your focus and concentration throughout the day. This list could be much longer, but below I’ve compiled my favorite 10 foods to boost your energy.
Before I begin let’s talk briefly about the foods that will only leave you feeling tired and hungry again. Here are the foods that you want to avoid:
- Fast foods or fried foods.
- Added sugars.
- Packaged snacks and candy bars.
- Baked sweets, such as cakes and cupcakes
Of course, sugary drinks and candy will also put too much fuel (sugar) into your blood too quickly and leave you with an ensuing crash. What I’d like to focus on are “complex carbs”, healthy fats, and protein that takes longer to digest, satisfies your hunger, and provides a slow, steady stream of energy.
A bowl of whole-grain oatmeal may be the best way to start your day and keep you going for hours. Oatmeal is full of fiber and nutrients that enable your body to feel fuller longer.
I’ve written about eggs in a previous post and they remain the number one breakfast food for a reason. A single egg has just 70 calories, and yet has 6 grams of protein. I highly recommend this over that mid-morning doughnut in the office break room.
A great source of protein and contains less unhealthy saturated fat than other meats. Highly recommended as a light lunch that won’t weigh you down and will keep you fueled until dinner.
I know this might be surprising – and it’s certainly not for everyone – but beef liver is one of the best meat sources for vitamin B-12 that helps keep your body full of energy. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 3-ounce cut of beef flank steak contains about 1.5 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12. In comparison, the same cut of beef liver contains 60 mcg of vitamin B-12. Wow!
For vegetarians or vegans, I recommend beans as a great source of protein. In addition, they also have plenty of fiber and are rich in magnesium. Beans may be the perfect food for mid-day energy because the protein helps keep your blood sugar levels steady while the complex carbohydrates provide energy for the brain and body.
If you’re looking for something sweet that doesn’t have the sugar crash of a candy bar, try blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Blueberries, especially, are low in sugar and high in fiber. Plus, they go great in a salad, yogurt, or smoothie.
Past studies found that dehydration is the culprit to why we’re so tired (or think we’re hungry). Water helps carry fuel and nutrients to your cells and helps get rid of waste. Plus, people who drink more of it usually take in less fat, sugar, salt, cholesterol, and total calories.
The easiest and cheapest food for an instant pick-me-up. Bananas are made up from three different types of sugar (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) which get absorbed into your blood at different speeds. This means that you’ll get a quick boost of energy and won’t suffer a mid-day slump. As a resource, here’s a great link for some delicious banana recipes.
A lack of iron in the body can decrease the oxygen flow to the brain – leaving you feeling exhausted. Spinach is rich in iron and known to improve alertness. And if you don’t like spinach, I’ve been told that it tastes much better in a smoothie!
I can’t stand the smell of tuna fish, but it’s loaded with protein and vitamin B that provides a great source of energy.
Are there foods that you recommend for energy? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to subscribe below to receive email alerts for future health and wellness tips.