9 Energy-Boosting Foods Top Dietitians Swear By
Feeling sluggish no matter how many lattes you down? Turn to this list of easy-to-make snacks and quick, mini meals to rev up your energy.
Almond butter on whole grain bread
What could be easier than a quick schmear on some hearty multigrain bread? Check the nutrition labels on your bread package and choose the highest fiber content while avoiding unnecessary additives like high fructose corn syrup. (Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Breads are a smart choice.) Natural almond butter provides healthy fatty acids and proteins that when coupled with the complex carbohydrates of the bread, will keep your energy levels high. Feeling nostalgic? Just spread some all-natural fruit jam or sliced fresh berries, and you’ll feel like a kid with your stand-by PB&J!
Avocado veggie pita
A simple whole grain pita stuffed with sliced bell peppers, spinach, and avocado is the go-to lunch of registered dietitian Jenn Bowers. To jazz it up, she squeezes some fresh lemon and spreads some Dijon mustard inside the pocket, and just like that, a quick, fresh tasting, fiber-filled meal is ready to take to the office. The healthy fats in the avocado will keep you full all afternoon, and the bell peppers provide crunch to satisfy those cravings. A whole grain pita contains five grams of fiber, so it’s a better choice over its white flour cousin. (Find more Jenn Bowers’s recipes, head to her blog, drjennbowersnutrition.com.)
It’s not just for hiking anymore! Homemade trail mix is such a handy and simple snack to keep in your desk drawer or purse. Best of all, if tailored well, trail mix is loaded with complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Buy your favorite nuts and dried fruit in bulk for an economical snack. Try less common nuts like pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or soy nuts for a new flavor. Dried blueberries and apricots pack fiber to keep you full. Sprinkle in a few dark chocolate chips or M&Ms for a sweet burst if you need it. For portion control, think golf ball or egg-size servings and pack into a snack-size plastic bag or container so you don’t overeat.
Need a quick breakfast? Grab a whole grain tortilla, scramble two eggs with chopped onions and peppers, throw in a handful of spinach at the end, and wrap that divine mixture up. You’ve created a high protein, fiber-filled breakfast or snack in less than ten minutes! Here are even more healthy egg recipes.
Greek yogurt with fruit
A sweet treat with protein is just the ticket for an afternoon pick-me-up. Greek yogurt contains double the protein as regular yogurt, keeping you full longer. Try mixing in some less common fruits for an exotic flair (think papaya, kiwi, guava, or star fruit) or, favorites such as strawberries, bananas, and peaches are perfect additions too. Fruits provide additional carbohydrates for energy, as well as fiber, vitamins, and electrolytes. Sprinkling a few nuts on top gives this snack a satisfying crunch. On the go? Consider a drinkable yogurt like Siggi’s Whole Milk Drinkable Yogurt. It offers 8 grams of protein, probiotics, and healthy fats, and is made with ingredients you can actually pronounce.
With recipes everywhere on the Internet, these tasty little morsels are all the rage and with good reason: they are loaded with all the necessary nutrients to provide long-lasting energy. And, the best part, they are no-bake gems, so you can stir them up in one bowl without any cooking involved. Be sure your energy bites mixture contains a complex carbohydrate source such as oats or dates for optimal energy. Nut butter, ground nuts, or protein powders typically provide the protein. And all natural flavorings are as varied as you can imagine, ranging from mocha, lemon-blueberry, coconut-mango, apple-cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or PB&J.
Fruit and cheese bento box
This idea can even pass as a fancy lunch, with bite-size portions of cheese chunks, whole strawberries, roasted almonds, and whole grain crackers. Cute bento boxes help with portion control, and filling them can help clean out some leftover random foods in your refrigerator or pantry. This snack is ideal for getting through the afternoon, with plenty of energy in the fruits and whole grain crackers, paired with protein in the cheese and nuts.
If you’re discerning about what you toss into your blender, you can pack a significant amount of long-lasting energy and nutrients into a quick breakfast or snack. Be sure to include a protein source like nut butter, low-sugar protein powder, or hemp seeds. Berries, spinach, and mango boost your antioxidants and provide important carbohydrate for fuel. Fiber in oats, chia seeds, fresh fruit, and vegetables stays with you for hours. Green smoothies rely more on veggies for a lower-calorie option. Don’t miss these healthy fruit smoothies, which are perfect for a good-for-you breakfast.
Dehydration causes that sluggish feeling and is easily cured with a glass of cold water. For prevention, try taking a large 1- to 2-quart container of ice water to work, and sip on it throughout the day. Rehydrate after workouts and first thing in the morning with at least 16 ounces of water. Not crazy about plain water? Squeeze in a squirt fresh lemon or lime, or toss in some cucumber slices or mint leaves to infuse flavor over the day. Experts say that eight 8-ounce glasses (or 64-ounces total) is the daily goal for water intake.