Everyone knows the feeling—it’s late afternoon, you still have a work project to finish, but your mind has gone foggy and you can’t think straight. Or you’ve just had a strenuous physical workout and now you feel completely done in and can barely make it to the shower. For many people, a soda, coffee, or sugar-filled snack is the go-to solution. These options do give you a quick energy boost, but one often followed by an inevitable “sugar crash”, which is a rapid decrease of blood glucose that may cause you to feel even more lethargic.
The long-term solution to those occasional energy slumps is probably an overhaul of your total diet to ensure that you are eating nutritiously and at regular intervals. However, even in the best of circumstances you may find yourself requiring a boost of energy now and again. If this is the case, there are some natural foods that can quickly provide you with energy and yet will not wreak havoc with your health.
Here are the 10 best foods for a quick energy boost:
Water: When you are dehydrated, your body will feel tired, slow, heavy, and hungry because your organs all need water to function smoothly and efficiently. So when you need a boost of energy, try reaching first for a tall, cool glass of plain water. It will likely do as much good as an expensive energy drink, and is certainly healthier for you than a sugar-filled soda or a calorie-laden latté.
Eggs: There is a good reason to start your day with a healthy omelet or a poached or soft-boiled egg. Eggs are one of the best sources of protein because they are a complete protein, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for our body’s dietary needs. Eggs are also high in B vitamins for energy and vitamin D for bone strength. Try snacking on a hard-boiled egg when you need a quick boost.
Quinoa: This grain is an excellent substitute for other simple carbohydrates or grains as it is also a complete protein and contains the essential amino acid lysine. It is also made up of minerals such as folate, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, which can provide long-term energy boosts.
Nuts and Dried Fruits: A handful of mixed raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruits will give you a boost when you need it—but make your own trail mix so that you can control the ingredients (packaged versions often have sugar, excess salt, and unhealthy oils). Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein, healthy fat, fiber, and minerals, all of which provides long-term energy. Best of all, this snack is easily portable so you can enjoy it at your desk, in the car, or while going for a walk.
Melons and Berries: In season, there is almost nothing better—or better-tasting—than chilled chunks of fresh melon or berries. The melon, of course, is full of beneficial water, helping to keep you hydrated. Berries contain natural sugar to help you energize quickly, but also have more than their share of nutrients and antioxidants, which can help your mental acuity.
Yogurt: Plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt is a great snack. It contains beneficial probiotics and protein, and you can add anything you want to it, like raw or dried fruits, nuts, or a drizzle of raw honey to make it more appealing. Yogurt helps your digestion, calms your nerves, and aids in weight loss. A 1/2 cup serving will stave off hunger and keep you on track when your energy wanes. Keep in mind that flavored yogurts are usually laden with sugar.
Hummus: There’s good reason for the popularity of this crushed chick pea darling of the Middle East. This legume provides protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, which gives you slow-building, long-term energy. Not only does it taste good, but it serves as a complement to so many other things. Use hummus as a dip with fresh vegetables like cucumber, carrots, celery or bell peppers.
Bananas and Apples: Supremely portable, these easy-to-snack-on fruits are bursting with antioxidants, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins C and B6—all of which lends itself to energizing the body. These fruits also stave off hunger and won’t increase your daily calorie intake by much.
Veggie Chips: For a quick boost of energy along with some added flavor and spice, look towards vegetable chips. Vegetables are high-carb, high-fiber foods, which provide you with both short- and long-term energy. Because store-bought versions can be high in salt, unhealthy oil, or other additives, it’s best to make them yourself. Think kale chips, yam chips, zucchini chips, and curly carrot strings.
Coffee: Having stated earlier that caffeine was not a suitable choice for energy boosts, there are always exceptions to the rules. One small cup of coffee, without cream, sugar, or other artificial flavorings, may be enough to perk you up for two hours. Research indicates that caffeine is best used for energy purposes by those who are healthy, not lacking in sleep, and do not drink it on a regular basis.
These healthy snacks are great ways to give you a quick energy boost, but if you find yourself experiencing slumps quite often, you may want to overhaul your diet, increase or decrease your exercise, and ensure a solid eight hours of sleep each night.
The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.