When you are low on energy, your first instinct may be to prepare a cup of coffee or grab a candy bar to get that much-needed boost. Unfortunately, the effects of both these options are short-term and can also set you up for a crash. The secret to long-lasting energy lies in foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. In light of this, listed below are 13 energy boosting foods that make great snacks as well as smart lunchtime meals and will keep you powered throughout the day.
Almonds are pretty popular for their high nutritional value. They contain essential nutrients such as B vitamins and magnesium that help break down food and convert them into energy. According to research, low magnesium levels can tire out people quickly during exercises since magnesium plays an important role in energy metabolism. B vitamin deficiencies can also result in poor concentration, irritability, and fatigue. In order to keep calories in check, consume about 23 almonds in one serving.
2. Peanut Butter
Even though high in calories, a little serving of peanut butter goes a long way in offering a great-tasting energy boost. It is rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which help fight hunger and regulate blood sugar levels. Make sure to avoid peanut butter brands with added sugar, and keep your serving size to 2 tablespoons.
Salmon is not called “brain food” for nothing. It is delicious and packs healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are known to enhance memory and reduce depression, as well as improve mood and increase energy levels. These healthy fats are also a great option for your cardiovascular health since they help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure that can increase your risk of heart disease.
Bananas make an incredibly healthy snack. They are loaded with B vitamins, fiber, and potassium – key nutrients that are needed to ensure a sustained muscle and energy function. Combine a banana with a cup of Greek yogurt or low-fat milk for an energizing blend of protein and fiber.
Egg yolks are naturally loaded with B vitamins, which are responsible for breaking down food into energy, and the vitamin D present in eggs helps maintain bone strength. In addition to that, they are one of the best protein sources that you can easily prepare and eat, which is important after a hardcore training session.
For a big boost of energy, go for a kale salad. Kale comprises of amino-acid L-tyrosine, which assists in giving your brain a lift, along with fiber and antioxidants that will keep you full and will also regulate your blood sugar levels.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that has more protein than any rice or grain. It is packed with amino acids and is therefore seen a complete source of protein. Furthermore, it contains methionine, lysine, and cysteine – perfect for post-workout meals for muscle building, as well as phosphorus, folate, manganese, and magnesium, making it a nutrient-dense source of carbohydrates for long-term energy.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Whether raw or roasted, pumpkin seeds can offer you a much-needed energy boost thanks to their protein, fiber, and healthy fats content. They also contain zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium, which offer extra energy backup to maximize workout time.
Pistachios make a delicious and energizing snack since they contain fiber, protein, and “good” monounsaturated fats. They are packed with proteins and are low in calories (100 calories per 25 pistachios), and since they require you remove the shells, that can prevent overeating.
10. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a yummy and energizing snack that contains fiber, Iron, copper, manganese, selenium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. Nibbling on a square of dark chocolate as dessert can actually be good for you. Besides all the nutrients, dark chocolate also contains the natural stimulant theobromine, which acts in a similar way to caffeine, thus boosting your mood and your energy levels.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), carbohydrates, vitamin C, manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2, sweet potatoes are a great way to charge your body from midday fatigue. Bonus: you can prepare sweet potatoes in numerous ways – mashed, baked, and thin strips.
Of course, apples had to make it to this list. Eating an apple a day will not only keep the doctor away, but also give you a powerful energy jolt to help you through the daily activities. Rich in fiber, apples take a longer time to digest, thus keeping you full for a long time and also preventing you from overeating. Moreover, this fruit contains small amounts of calcium, iron, and phosphorus, but rich amounts of vitamin C, flavonoids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants, all of which can help minimize the risk of various diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and hypertension. For an effective pick-me-up, combine apples with cheese. 1 medium-sized apple (182 g) contains 95 calories.
13. Trail Mix
Dried fruits and nuts are the perfect combinations of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Even though refined carbs quickly convert into glucose for short-term boost of energy, fiber helps slow down the release of glucose so there is always a stable supply. Just like fiber, protein also decreases the time it takes for carbohydrates to breakdown and repairs muscle-damage to stop post-workout pain and soreness. Fats like seeds, nuts, and oils are popular for offering long-term energy – especially for longer swims or runs.
A lot of the trail mixes include added sugar and oils, which are unhealthy. A good solution is to make your own trail mix by combining all your favorite dried fruits, nuts and seeds, like almonds, peanuts, raisins, cashews. Also throw in some whole grain pretzels or cereal for additional fueling.
It is time you replaced your energy drinks and espresso shots with these healthy and revitalizing foods that will fuel your body without the pending sugar crash that comes along with other unhealthy options.