Being energised is the number one factor to feeling positive, staying motivated and getting through the day. Having low energy levels is affected by how you take care of your body. That being said, it is not all based on lack of sleep, although you might think it is. In fact, energy levels are boosted by food. Today, you will find out the best foods for your body that will give you energy and be good for you at the same time.
What to know before reading the energy boost foods list
Some people may believe a sugar kick is the best option to improve their energy levels. Many may pose the question “but doesn’t all good give you energy?”. It certainly can have some effect, but not for good reason.
Sugary foods such as sweets, milky chocolate and energy drinks can certainly have an energising effect, but not for good or long lasting reasons. Yes, these high sugar foods and drinks will give you an energy boost but, it will not last long and will make you feel worse off after the effects have worn off and make you feel fatigued.
Whether you’re low on energy, like to have an energy boost in the morning or generally like to feel energised at all times, what you eat and drink has the most impact. There are many foods that will give you energy, but there are a certain few that are good for the body.
So, what foods are good for you whilst boosting your energy at the same time?
Depending on your food lifestyle and dietary requirements, there are different food groups that you would choose from. There are healthy foods that everyone can enjoy, whatever your requirements. From fruits and vegetables to grains, beans and legumes to animal products and drinks. Believe it or not, there are in fact some foods that you can treat as snacks on the list.
Below is a list of the 10 healthy foods that will indeed give you energy and will explain why and how they do so.
Fruits: rich in fiber and natural sugars for a natural boost of energy
Bananas : the quickest low calorie snack
This is probably the quickest low calorie snack you can consume that will give you a big energy boost. Being a natural source of sugar means they are good for you whilst being full of nutrients – such as potassium, vitamin B and C – that make the body feel full of energy.
Studies show that bananas can give you as much energy as a carbonated drink can. It can also increase endurance and performance just as much.
Avocados: for slow release but long lasting energy avocados are a great healthy option.
They are high in natural fats, protein and fiber that help sustain energy levels long enough to last the entire day.
You can enjoy avocados with any meal during the day as they are a great add-on to fulfil all dietary groups your body requires each day, such as fats, proteins and fiber.
Dark berries: berries are a great option to kick sugar cravings.
When it gets to the middle of the day and you’re craving something sweet, instead of reaching for the bars of chocolate or energy drinks, dark berries are the answer.
This includes blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Darker berries contain more natural antioxidants than lighter ones such as strawberries which helps reduce inflammation and fatigue. Darker berries also contain less sugar.
Oranges: full of vitamin C, oranges are a great antioxidant fruit.
This colourful fruit helps to reduce oxidative stress and will result in an energy boost.
Just like all vitamins, vitamin C is a fantastic mood booster to do oranges are a great breakfast food. Or, enjoy it naturally juiced throughout the day.
Apples: a great healthy snack to keep you feel fuller for longer.
Apples have a very interesting sugar break down routine. After being eaten, the carbohydrates in the apple break down into a sugar called glucose which enters your bloodstream. This then travels to your cells and turns into energy.
They also contain a high level of vitamin B and C as well as potassium. Apples are a great food to consume in the morning or throughout the day as a snack as the carbohydrates make you feel fuller for longer.
Animal products: high in protein and vitamins, essential for a healthy balanced diet to provide energy.
Vegetarian diet is not your cup of tea ? Here is the list of animal foods high in protein.
Fatty fish: a healthy fresh product high in protein and minerals.
Fish has many properties that are good for your body but in particular fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are higher in omega-3. These fatty acids have many health benefits, which includes fighting off fatigue and helping the body feel more energized.
See the list of foods that help you reduce fatigue
Fatty fish are low calorie and high protein which are great for the body, very filling and a great source of sustainable energy. They are good to consume for breakfast, lunch or dinner as they provide a high amount of protein the body needs to fuel a days activities and exercise.
Beef liver: a meat higher in vitamin B-12 than any other.
A meat that will make you feel full and keep you feeling that way for a long period of time is beef liver. It is full of vitamin B-12 which works to help you feel full of energy.
Typically, many cuts of meat contain vitamin B-12 but in particular beef liver contains a higher amount than any other. Beef liver contains roughly 45-50 times more micrograms of vitamin B-12 than the same size cut of beef steak.
Yoghurt: a healthy simple quick fix to add to many meals and is rich in nutrients.
Natural yoghurt makes a great morning breakfast as well as a healthy snack. It is rich in natural fats, proteins and simple carbohydrates that are great providers of energy.
Make sure to avoid sugar filled yoghurts, such as those with artificial flavours or any that are not natural as these will not have the same effects or benefits. Instead, they are full of false sugar and will instead reduce energy levels after time.
Eggs: a small addition to meals that adds a high amount of protein.
Many know eggs for their protein content and that is exactly what makes them great energy providers. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein on average, which for the size of the food, is an amazing amount of protein to give you energy.
Another food that is great for any meal or even as a snack. Eggs are the best snack to enjoy to feel the most fulfilled and energised throughout the day.
Cottage cheese: a dairy product low in fat and packed full of vitamins and minerals.
Cottage cheese is packed full of protein and nutrients such as vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus which are all great contributors to energy levels.
The protein content is in fact so high there is 28g in one cup of low fat cottage cheese. It is a new food that is seen in a lot of healthy diets due to its low calorie high protein nutrients.
Honey: a healthy natural sugar product that is a great addition to food and drinks.
The body needs carbs to maintain energy levels. The carbohydrate content in honey helps maintain muscle glycogen which is stored in the body giving you all the energy you need.
Honey is part of many athletes’ diets due to its ability to store energy in the body through its carbohydrate content. It is best consumed before a workout. It’s a great food to add into various meals such as breakfast, teas and smoothies.
Vegetables: nutrient dense and full of beneficial antioxidants
Sweet potatoes: a simple carbohydrate that gives a slow release of good.
Sweet potatoes or yams are one of a few carbohydrates that give you energy instead of resulting in a reverse effect. They are a simple carbohydrate which means the energy from the carb content is released slowly throughout the body to give you energy for longer.
They are also high in fibre which means the body slowly absorbs them, resulting in the slow release of energy.
Beetroots: a root vegetable rich in energy releasing nutrients.
Beetroots, all known as beets, are a great source of antioxidant and full of nutrients that help improve blood flow and result in releasing energy.
You can enjoy beetroot cooked, as dried vegetable crisps or as a juice. The vegetable is growing in popularity for salads and pressed juices in the health food industry and now we know why.
Leafy greens: add these nutrient dense greens to your meals or smoothies.
Who knew that leafy greens could be so high in energy? They are a food everyone enjoys as part of a healthy balanced meal but not many are aware of the long lasting effects they can have.
In particular kale, spinach and collard greens are nutrient dense and contain filling proteins. A tip for those who find leafy green hard to digest raw, enjoy them cooked or boiled down with vinegar or lemon juice.
Ginger: helps maintain blood sugar levels and has many health benefits.
The ginger root has many benefits to energy levels and is a great food to consume to maintain blood sugar levels. It has many other benefits such as relieving stress, nausea and helps aid digestion.
Many consume ginger as an energy shot as it gives you an almost instant boost of energy. Otherwise, you can consume it in juices, salads or curries.
Grains: healthy grains fuel you for longer
Oatmeal: the most filling breakfast meal that is a great energy booster.
This is a food that has recently lost its title for being an unhealthy food. In fact, oatmeal is a great breakfast choice that is rich in fiber and helps you feel fuller for longer.
Whole-grain oats are the best option as they are a great source of vitamins, minerals and phenolic compounds that help to energise the body.
Quinoa: high in protein and good carbohydrates to release energy.
A food that quickly became popular for many diets are this seed, more commonly referred to or considered as a grain, is high in protein, carbohydrates and fiber that work together to release sustainable energy.
Quinoa contains a high combination of amino acids and slow-releasing carbohydrates, just like the sweet potatoes, that help slowly release energy for a longer period of time than those grains that contain glucose that results in short bursts of energy.
Whole grain cereal: a grain packed with immune boosting nutrients.
Similar to oatmeal, whole grain cereal is a great breakfast food to provide a great boost of energy in the morning. Whilst being more filling than refined grains, whole grain cereal also contains more nutrients such as vitamin B, iron and magnesium. These nutrients give you energy and support your body’s immune system.
These types of cereals promote stable blood sugar levels that correlate to positive energy. Enjoy it with natural yoghurt for a filling breakfast and great source of natural energy.
Click to see all the foods that help you improve your immune system
Brown rice: the best rice to boost and maintain energy levels.
A filling and healthy grain that is packed with fiber that provides around 90% of your needed manganese levels. Manganese is a mineral that helps your enzymes break down into carbohydrates which generates energy.
Brown rice is different to white rice as white rice contains a high level of glucose that causes your energy levels to quickly skyrocket and then crash. Instead, brown rice manages your insulin levels, which in turn ensures your glucose levels efficiently release good energy.
Snacks: particular snacks come with great health benefits and are great energy boosters throughout the day.
Dark chocolate: the darker the chocolate or the cocoa bean means less sugar.
Some might mistake milk chocolate for giving them a natural source of energy. But, in fact high sugar foods have a reverse effect which results in fatigue.
Rich dark chocolate has a lot less sugar than milk chocolate and has a higher percentage of cocoa, which also has other benefits such as helpful antioxidants and flavonoids. It is a much healthier option and great for a healthy diet.
Popcorn: a great quick-fix low calorie snack.
Popcorn is known to be high in carbohydrates, but this isn’t always a bad thing. As it is also rich in fibre, the two food groups contain properties that work together to make a person feel fuller for longer.
This is a snack that has a mistaken high calorie content. In fact, popcorn contains a lot less calories that snacks similar to it such as potato chips or crackers. For the healthiest option, you can add your own seasoning instead of opting for the traditional sweet or salty. Great options are to add natural sweeteners such as cinnamon or even enjoy dipped into peanut butter.
Goji berries: help fight fatigue and boost energy.
These berries are known as a popular superfood that contain chemical compounds called phytochemicals which are produced by plants. These chemicals are great antioxidants, which the body needs to fight fatigue and increase energy levels.
They are best consumed in a small serving on top of whole grain cereal, oatmeal or even salads. You can even add them into smoothies. They are great with bananas and dark berries.
Hummus: a high protein low calorie snack.
Hummus or chickpeas are a healthy snack very high in protein which curbs hunger and fuels the body. As well as protein, the high levels of iron in hummus helps boost your energy.
This snack is low in calories and fat and is perfect to put on top of a leafy green quinoa salad. This nutrient dense low calorie snack is a great alternative to many unhealthy sauces and dressings.
Peanut butter: similar to an avocado, peanut butter contains healthy fats and protein.
The magnesium content in peanut butter helps the energy it provides slowly release to help you feel fuller for longer.
Peanut butter is a high calorie snack so be careful with portion size. A spoonful or two is a good amount to be a healthy snack and give you lots of energy. This nut butter can be enjoyed smooth or nutty with oatmeal or apple.
Beans, legumes and seeds: packed with nutrients and protein
Soybeans: high in amino acids that help build and maintain muscle.
Although a small food, soybeans such as edamame contain a variety of amino acids. Amino acids are what your body needs to build and maintain muscle growth. So consuming plenty of amino acid rich foods will increase your performance and sustain muscle ability.
As well as amino acids, soybeans are high in potassium and magnesium which are good energy releasing nutrients. Magnesium helps break down amino acids which helps to release the energy amino acid provides.
Lentils: one of the few healthy beans that are very high in protein.
Although lentils are a bean, they are a good source of protein that is also pocket friendly. One cup of lentils provides 18g of protein, which is equivalent to a chicken breast.
When cooking lentils a little goes a long way and a small handful of them is good enough to make you feel full, whilst working on giving you a boost of long lasting energy. Lentils are mistaken to be a bad legume as they are high in carbohydrates but as we now know, some high carbohydrate foods are a great source of healthy energy.
Nuts: high in fiber, low calorie and contain a great healthy amount of good fats.
Nuts contain a blend of fiber, protein, fats and carbohydrates that are all healthy for the body, filling if you eat a good amount and a great source of energy. The fatty acids inside nuts are key for reducing inflammation which results in reduced fatigue.
Best consumed in small quantities. They are a great snack or addition to meals.
Chia seeds: these tiny seeds have a big impact on energy.
They are packed with fibre, protein and omega-3’s for a healthy hit of nutrition. Two tablespoons of these gives you 10 grams of fiber.
As they are high in fibre, chia seeds will fill the body with protein and make you feel fuller and more fuelled for longer. They are a perfect pre-workout snack.
Pumpkin seeds: a great source of protein and unsaturated fats.
Eating a small amount of these will provide you with high levels of iron, calcium, B vitamins and beta-ceratone, which the body turns into vitamin B. All of these nutrients and a healthy way to energise the body.
As well as the energising benefits, pumpkin seeds also help to improve heart health, blood sugar levels and sleep. They are an easy seed to put on top of your meals and make the dish taste delicious and flavoursome.
Drinks: full of antioxidant benefits that reduce fatigue and stimulate energy.
Coffee: a great quick-fix energy booster.
If you like to consume coffee but are worried it is not good for the body, it’s good news. Black coffee is full of antioxidants which we all now know are great for releasing energy and reducing fatigue.
Coffee is probably one of the most recognisable but mistaken energy sources. If you drink it black, it is a great provider of energy. It is indeed a stimulant and a good instant kick of energy. Just be careful not to consume too much as this can result in energy loss – just like sugary foods can.
Green tea: a drink with a smaller amount of caffeine, better for you and longer lasting effects.
For tea drinkers, green tea is a great option as it contains a small amount of caffeine in comparison to most teas and of course, coffee.
Unlike coffee, green tea has a much smoother energy release process but will result in longer lasting effects. Too much caffeine can make you crash, so be careful how much black coffee or green tea you consume.
Water: the drink everyone needs to maintain energy levels.
Dehydration leads to fatigue, so a lack of water will make your body feel un-energised and drained. Drinking plenty of water will combat this.
It is recommended to drink 2-3 litres a day. To complete this, try having a glass every 30-50 minutes from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed.
Whilst teaching yourself the right foods to consume to boost your energy levels whilst also being good for the body also comes with teaching yourself what foods to avoid. It can seem obvious when contemplating which foods to avoid, but it’s easier to think you can avoid them than to actually do so.
Eating healthy premium foods that provide and maintain are easily consumed in an everyday diet. By substituting foods you already eat with those listed above will not only improve your daily diet but provide you with a good source of energy that is easily sustained. With there being 32 options, there is certainly something for each meal of the day and a healthy snack or two in between.
Liked this article? Now you choose which foods you’ll be substituting for these healthy energising foods. Feel free to share them and your recommendations in the comments below.