Tired Of Feeling Exhausted? These 20 Energy Foods Can Help

energy foods

Written by Emilee Petkus | Edited By: Carol Coutinho

January 1, 2021

With the start of the new year, now is the perfect time to start gaining more energy to accomplish all of the goals you may have. Even though getting 8-hours of sleep and some daily at-home exercise are crucial for a happy body and mind, what we eat plays a huge role too!

While it is true that all foods provide us with energy, some have more revitalizing benefits than others. With this in mind, we have crafted a list of the 20 most powerful energy foods (along with some helpful recipes) that will keep you full longer while simultaneously boosting your energy levels. A perfect solution that can elevate your mood from the comfort of your home. If you stay till the end, we will even let you in on the 4 types of food you should avoid.

20 Healthy Foods That Give You Energy

1: Bananas

This convenient fruit is perhaps one of the best energy boosters out there. A banana’s high fiber content allows a slow release of its natural sugars, meaning your energy levels will remain stable and last longer throughout the day. (1)

Bananas are also packed full of potassium, complex carbs, and vitamin B6, all of which are natural energy boosters. (1) 

 

  • Try this delicious banana oatmeal smoothie (V) and start your mornings out right!  
  • Need something quick? Make this banana chia seed pudding (V, GF) for a delicious, on-the-go snack. (Bonus: You’ll even get extra energy from the chia seeds.)
Bananas

2: Eggs

As a complete protein, the energy gained from eggs will slowly be released throughout the day. (1)(9) According to the USDA, a large hard-boiled egg contains about 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, meaning they are more filling than the average snack. (3)

Eggs also contain high levels of B-vitamins and leucine, an amino acid specialized in boosting energy. (1) 

 

Eggs

3: Oatmeal

Rich in B-vitamins, iron, and manganese, this whole-grain cereal leaves you feeling more energized with every spoonful. B-vitamins convert food directly into useful energy, whereas oat’s high fiber content and beta-glucan keeps you full longer and stabilizes your sugar levels for the day. (4)(5)

Pro-Tip: You’re better off making your own oatmeal in the morning, so you can avoid those pesky added sugars.

 

oats

4: Water

With our bodies being 75% water, it comes as no surprise that staying hydrated is vital for maintaining energy. In fact, losing just 1.5% of your water weight can leave you feeling exhausted and sluggish. (6) 

Keep some water handy throughout the day and drink even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t enjoy plain water? Try infusing a pitcher with some fruits and herbs. Make a batch in the morning, set it in the fridge, and you’ll be set for the whole day. 

 

water

5: Green Leafy Veggies

These veggies pack a powerful punch with their high iron content. Did you know that iron deficiency is one of the major causes of fatigue? Iron helps replenish our red blood cells, and in turn, increases our energy. (1) Leafy green vegetables also store antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium. These all help our body create more energy and release it slowly. 

Make some more room on your plate for spinach because it has high levels of tyrosine, a compound that promotes alertness. (7) 

Some energy-boosting green vegetables include spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens.

 

  • Replace your potato chips this year with some kale chips (V, GF).

6: Quinoa

Quinoa is a complex carb high in fiber and protein. (4) As a result, this superfood has a low glycemic index leaving you full all day without any wild dips in your energy. (8) 

Even though quinoa is tiny, it is packed full of the nutritional benefits of vitamin B-9, magnesium, and manganese as well. (4) 

 

uncooked quinoa

7: Oranges

Perhaps you know oranges for their high vitamin C content. In fact, one orange can provide your entire daily recommended intake. Beyond boosting immunity, vitamin C also protects against oxidative stress which is a major cause of fatigue.

With the help of an orange’s potassium and folate, your metabolism will ramp up converting food into energy within just two hours after eating one orange. (4)(7)(22)

Pro-tip: If you’re drinking orange juice, choose one with some pulp. This way you’ll get some fiber alongside the natural sugars. 

 

oranges

8: Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are great sources of protein, fatty acids, and B vitamins. Adding to these energizing benefits, Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation, a well-known cause of fatigue within the body. (4) Having fish for lunch is a sure way towards a productive afternoon. 

The most common fatty fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. (9)

 

  • With most of us still working from home, feel free to break out the tuna salad for lunchtime.
  • Tough day? Feel re-energized with some delicious baked salmon (GF).
salmon

9: Goji Berries

Originally used for medicinal purposes, goji berries are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Their high fiber content, with 1-ounce containing 2 grams of fiber, helps slow digestion and energy release. (4)  

In fact, a recent study found that 34 individuals who consumed goji berries experienced increased energy and reduced levels of fatigue and stress. (10)

 

dried goji berries

10: Seeds

Chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds are all great choices because of their plant-based omega-3 fatty acids along with their abundance of protein and fiber. (4) In short, these seeds are super filling while being loaded with healthy fats and minerals – amazing for their small size!

These smart snacks also contain energizing manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Zinc, in particular, helps the body produce hormones that affect energy and mood. (9) 

 

sunflower seeds

11: Avocados

Avocados are considered a superfood partly because of their healthy fats, B vitamins, and fiber. 80% of an avocado’s carb content is fiber, meaning that your energy levels will be sustained throughout the day. (4) 

They also have a low glycemic index, helping you manage blood sugar spikes throughout the day, aka no more dips in productivity. (11)

 

avocado

12: Popcorn

Now, I’m not talking about the movie theater-style popcorn, slathered in butter, but the air-popped kind instead. Popcorn is naturally high in fiber and carbs, so once again, this means a slow digestion process and sustained energy. (4) 

Proving that popcorn is a power snack, a study found that people who ate popcorn stayed full longer than those who opted for chips. (12) 

 

  • Follow this guide and learn how to air-pop popcorn.
popcorn

13: Edamame

Easy, convenient, and protein-packed, edamame is low in calories yet high in fiber and carbs. The protein within edamame will help restore your muscles, slow the absorption of sugar, and slowly digest throughout the day. (21) Munching on a couple of these pods will make your body feel better and your mind more energized. Additionally, they fight fatigue with folic acid while generating more energy with manganese. (4) 

Did you also know copper and phosphorus can be found within soybeans? These convert food into usable energy as well. (9) 

 

  • While you can enjoy edamame on its own, it also works great in stir-fries (V, can be made GF).
  • Or try out this fun edamame hummus (V, GF)
edamame

14: Apples

Apples are another fruit that slowly releases energy because of their high fiber content and natural sugars. These sugars will give you an instant boost, while the fruit’s antioxidants help slow down this process and prevent a crash. (4) Since apples are 86% water, you’ll even stay hydrated as you snack throughout the day. (13) I guess you could say that an apple a day keeps the fatigue away!

Pro-tip: Eat the skin for extra fiber or add some nut butter for additional protein. 

 

red apples

15: Sweet Potatoes

Adding another complex carb to the list, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, iron, and magnesium like so many other energy-boosting foods. Aside from vitamin C’s previously mentioned benefits, it also transports fat into our cells for energy production. (9) Just one sweet potato provides 24 grams of carbohydrates, necessary for keeping our muscles energized throughout the day. (14)

 

Sweet potatoes

16: Nuts

Nuts are high in calories yet also contain lots of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Combined with their manganese, vitamin b, iron, and vitamin e, these guys will give you energy in no time. (4) 

Grab a handful for a great snack that will keep you full and energized. 

 

  • Here are some tips on how to make a healthy trail mix.
nuts

17: Hummus

Once again, we’ve got a powerful combination of fiber, protein, and B vitamins. (19) For hummus, chickpeas are typically mixed with olive oil which is a source of healthy fats. (15) As a warning, hummus is high in calories so be sure to portion correctly. 

Pro-tip: Use celery or carrots rather than pita for a healthier alternative (15)

 

Hummus energy foods

18: Beans

Beans pack on the protein and antioxidants necessary for you to tackle the day. When deciding between the different types… don’t worry! All beans are very similar in the energy benefits they provide. (4)

 

Beans energy foods

19: Greek Yogurt

Not only does greek yogurt have less sugar than its regular alternative, but it also contains 3 times the amount of protein. (1) As a result, its natural sugars are sustained in the body throughout the day. Making another appearance, B vitamins are also in greek yogurt. (1)

 

Greek yogurt energy foods

20: Dark Chocolate

If you find yourself still wanting a sweet fix, then dark chocolate is your solution. A study recently found that dark chocolate increases blood flow, making you more alert and awake. (20) Additionally, chocolate also contains theobromine: a natural stimulant found in cacao that produces milder yet longer-lasting effects than caffeine from coffee. (16) 

 

Dark Chocolate energy foods

As Promised, Here Are The 4 Foods You Should Avoid

 1. Refined Carbs

Ditch the pizza, pasta, and white bread for lunch. Instead, replace them with any of the alternative energy foods listed above. (17)

2. Cereal

Most cereals are loaded with added sugars and will only guarantee low energy later in the day. (18)

3. Store-bought Granola Bars

Just like cereal, most granola bars are sugar bombs. After snacking on one, you’ll most likely be hungry again within the next hour. (17) 

4. Caffeine 

This one may be surprising, as we typically reach for the coffee pot when fatigue hits. No doubt, caffeine is good for restoring energy in small amounts. However, a crash is inevitable if consumed in excess. (18)

Personal Balance Is Key For An Energy-Boosting Diet

Incorporating these 20 energy foods into your diet is the first step towards feeling unstoppable throughout the day. However, always remember: stay in-tune with your body. What may work for someone else, may not always be best for you. Instead, find what personally helps you attain your optimal energy levels. 

Interested in what else food can do for you? Read more in our article about how to boost your metabolism through your diet.  

Make sure to share this blog with your friends and help them re-energize their new year.  That way we can all get our energy back this year through the power of food! 

20 foods that give you energy
Marchan, Gabrielle. “20 Foods That Can Boost Your Energy.” 2020.
Sources:

  1. https://www.wellandgood.com/foods-for-energy/ 
  2. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/energy-boosting-foods.aspx 
  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173424/nutrients 
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/energy-boosting-foods#4.-Sweet-potatoes 
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/ 
  6. https://www.health.com/mind-body/12-dehydration-symptoms-everyone-should-know-according-to-experts 
  7. https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/foods-that-give-you-energy/  
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323947#grains 
  9. https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/foods-high-in-energy.php
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18447631/ 
  11.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318620#benefits 
  12.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3502142/ 
  13. https://appleforthat.stemilt.com/theres-an-apple-for/energy/#:~:text=Apples%20are%20a%20great%20source,which%20also%20keeps%20you%20energized
  14. https://farmfreshdirect.net/sweet-potatoes-exercise-superfood/#:~:text=your%20fitness%20goals.-,Energy,a%20longer%20period%20of%20time
  15. https://www.livescience.com/55817-hummus-nutrition.html#:~:text=Traditional%20hummus%20is%20low%20in,go%20snack%2C%22%20said%20Dr
  16. https://www.theoptimizingblog.com/theobromine/ 
  17. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-drain-energy#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6 
  18. https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/13-foods-you-eat-every-day-that-might-be-draining-your-energy 
  19. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280244#nutrition 
  20.  https://jag.journalagent.com/tkd/pdfs/TKDA_43_2_199_207.pdf 
  21. https://www.wellandgood.com/does-protein-give-you-energy/ 
  22. https://theenergyforsuccess.com/blog/22-healthy-foods-that-give-you-energy/

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