High-energy foods fall into two main categories. One kind, including foods high in sugars, will give a quick high that will fade fast. Other kinds of foods, such as fish and eggs, will not only provide energy that will last throughout the day but also include other key ingredients to a healthy diet.
Some foods are high in energy, but provide a temporary fix that will leave anyone tired and worn out after a while. Candy bars and sugary sweets are two of the worst offenders. Snacks like these deliver energy in the form of glucose, which is quickly drained by the body. The aptly named energy drinks often work in the same way, leaving the individual feeling even more tired than before once the initial burst of glucose is consumed. Caffeine, another component in many energy drinks and coffee, is another ingredient that supplies a brief period of high energy before a crash.
The key to finding high-energy foods that last throughout the day is to look at where the energy is coming from. Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates supply the body with a nutrient that is processed slowly and released over the course of the day for a time-release energy effect. High-energy foods typically are high in proteins to help supply energy throughout the day.
Breakfast and lunch are two of the most important meals, because they supply the energy needed to get through the day. Morning foods such as yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, and high-fiber cereals can help provide long-term energy. Since fiber takes a long time to digest, this too acts like a time-release energy capsule. Fruits such as strawberries and bananas are also considered valuable high-energy foods.
Pastas are high in carbohydrates and in energy, but they can also be difficult to manage. Not using the energy contained in pastas can result in storing the unused energy in the form of fat. Whole-grain pastas and breads are generally a better choice for high-energy foods, and topping pasta with similarly high-energy green vegetables can increase the energy even more.
Foods low in fat and high in protein are also good sources of long-lasting energy. White meats such as turkey and chicken can supply an afternoon's worth of energy as long as they are prepared right; this generally means without the skin and high-fat sides such as mayonnaise. Fish, including tuna and salmon, is not only high in energy but in other essentials such as vitamin D and potassium. Fruits or nuts make good snacks, and a glass of water can renew energy in between meals. Most people don't consume enough water, so rehydrating the body can renew energy in a calorie-free way.