What Foods Give You The Most Natural Energy?
The work day can be long and tiring. If you find that your energy levels dip in the middle of the day and leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and unproductive, your diet may need “charged” foods that provide natural energy.
Of course, there’s the temptation to pick up sugary energy drinks or a cup of coffee to get you through these periods. However, this can be counterproductive. Caffeine and sugar are diuretic substances, and dehydration can contribute to fatigue and cause headaches.
To maintain consistent energy levels, especially if you have a stressful or manual job, these small changes to your diet and eating habits can make a world of difference.
How Does Diet Impact Energy Levels?
Food provides us with the fuel we need to maintain our bodies and fuel daily activity. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the building blocks of our body and brain, so our diet directly impacts our energy levels.
However, not all food is the same when it comes to fuelling your body. Some foods, like sugars and certain forms of carbohydrates, provide a burst of energy followed by a slump. Meanwhile, others, like fats and proteins, offer consistent energy over a longer period of time.
Most of us know this intuitively based on our own experiences. Some foods make us feel heavy and tired, while others leave us feeling drained after a few hours. As such, even if we don’t know the science behind it, we know that a candy bar will only give us energy for a short period.
So why do we make non-productive choices when it comes to our meals?
Comfort Vs. Pragmatism
According to the Harvard Business Review, our energy levels and self-control are at their lowest ebb when we are hungry. Because of this, we often seek foods that are quick, easy, and satisfying. French fries and chicken wings are far more appealing when we are hungry than a fresh garden salad or healthy quinoa bowl.
Furthermore, fast foods tend to be cheaper than healthy alternatives in cafes and restaurants. Of course, if you buy healthy foods and make them at home, the cost can be significantly lowered. For those on a budget, therefore, choosing a cheaper option can seem sensible, even if it’s not the healthiest choice. Knowing how to make better choices is the first step in stabilizing your day-to-day energy levels.
Eating Habits That Can Lead To Natural Energy
When it comes to your diet, it can be hard to find the right balance without falling into restrictive dieting or food guilt. Neither of these are constructive to overall mental and physical health.
Luckily, there are ways to make it easier to choose a balanced diet that gives you joy, all the nutrients you need, and more consistent energy levels without regular mid-day slumps and sugar crashes:
- Try to make 75% of your diet nutrient-dense, but allow up to 25% for enjoyment; cravings and comfort foods are not your enemy.
- Plan your meals ahead of time, so that you are not making choices when hungry.
- Make sure that you balance your need for healthy foods with enjoyment; a diet you enjoy is a sustainable diet.
- Remember that a good diet should not revolve around your weight; think about what you need in order to undertake your day and prioritize health.
- Don’t substitute your treats; if you want some chocolate, have some chocolate. Eating a range of substitutions before you finally have a small chocolate bar defeats the purpose of having a balanced diet. Indulgence is only an issue when it is habitual and excessive.
Above and beyond all else, remember that what you eat is not a reflection of your character or morals. Often we are told that how we eat is a reflection of self, but it is not. It is a reflection of what we need and what we enjoy.
No two people are the same. If dairy-based fats and proteins make you feel best and help you to stay energetic, give your body what it clearly wants and needs.
Foods That Provide Sustained Energy Levels In Your Diet
If you know how to make good choices when it comes to your daily meals, but you are unsure what kinds of foods are best for sustained energy, we can help.
There are a range of foods that will promote consistent energy throughout the day, but remember that everyone’s body is different. How often you eat and how much you eat will also have a big impact.
Here are eight of the best foods to add to your diet to increase your natural energy levels and avoid the pesky mid-afternoon slump:
Salmon is one of the best energy-boosting foods out there. It’s full of nutrients, B vitamins, and vitamin D, all of which can combat fatigue. Salmon is also full of protein, omega-3 oils, and healthy fats that can support your body’s digestion, bones, skin, and hair.
Nuts are some of the best foods you can include in your diet. Full of protein, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, they offer plenty of energy and beneficial ingredients per handful.
Chickpeas are powerful little things. Full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, they release energy slowly and contain a range of beneficial nutrients. Try keeping some roasted chickpeas in your lunchbox for a healthy, natural energy-promoting snack in the middle of the day.
4. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is not just tasty; it can have real benefits for your body. Dark chocolate in particular has a high amount of flavanols, antioxidants, and healthy fats that can fuel your body. Add some dark chocolate to your oatmeal in the morning or have a few squares with some tea when you feel a slump coming on, and you could get a boost of natural energy.
Eggs are underappreciated powerhouses. Filled with protein and healthy fats, they can promote stable blood sugar levels and, as a result, consistent energy levels. Whether you start your day with scrambled eggs or you add a hardboiled egg to your lunch, you will notice a difference to your energy levels.
Avocados are absolutely full of beneficial nutrients, such as fiber and healthy fats. These break down slowly in the body, far more slowly than simple carbohydrates, and, as a result, offer sustained energy. Try having avocado and whole wheat toast with an egg for breakfast and you will find that you make it to lunchtime feeling much more energetic and awake.
7. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are full of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and immune system supporting nutrients, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. A baked sweet potato with your favorite toppings or some sweet potato soup will make a great, healthy lunch that boosts your natural energy and satiates your hunger.
Made from chickpeas or fava beans with olive oil, hummus is delicious, hearty, and packed full of protein and fiber. The complex carbohydrates and protein in hummus contribute to satiety and extend energy levels. If you pair it with fresh fruits, vegetables, or wholewheat pita, you will get an extra boost of nutrients and fiber. This will help you maintain high levels of energy.