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What is the Best Energy Food?

By Lori Smith
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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While it may be tempting to reach for coffee or sugary treats when feeling tired, the drop in blood sugar that often occurs soon afterward can cause lethargy and even depression. Choosing an energy food that is high in fiber and contains B vitamins can help convert carbohydrates into lasting energy, and create an overall feeling of well-being. The slow release of glucose when digesting such foods helps sustain vitality and avoid a drastic drop in blood sugar. Oatmeal, lentils, nuts, and fruits can make people feel more energetic while contributing to better health.

Eating a bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start the morning. It is a high energy food with plenty of fiber, that is also low on the glycemic index. Steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats are best. It is better to avoid the instant variety, which often contains sugar and sodium that can negate some of its energy-producing benefits. Natural oats do not normally cause the drop in blood glucose levels that causes fatigue.

Low in fat and calories and high in fiber and B vitamins, lentils and beans are excellent foods for increasing energy. Lentils are often incorporated into soup dishes instead of, or in addition to, meat products. Black beans are frequently used in Latin dishes, and combined with rice for a healthy combination of protein and carbohydrates. Other bean varieties, such as pinto and kidney beans, are frequently incorporated into dishes, or eaten on their own, as an energy food source.

Snacking on nuts can help sustain mental and physical stamina. The high-protein and unsaturated fats found in almonds, pecans, and walnuts not only give a boost of energy, but also improve overall health. They help lower cholesterol and promote a strong heart. A spoonful of peanut butter, also a nutritious energy food, can offer a quick pick-me-up as well.

Full of fuel for the body, fruits — like bananas, pineapples, and strawberries — are wholesome alternatives to energy-draining fatty foods. A glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice or a smoothie that combines various fresh fruits with yogurt are refreshing and invigorating beverages that may be enjoyed on-the-go. The vitamins and antioxidants in these drinks promote good health and keep the body revved up for activity.

In addition to eating high-energy food, many nutrition experts recommend consuming several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones. The boost this gives the metabolism improves vigor over a long period of time. Refueling the body every few hours usually contributes to an overall feeling of vitality.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By cougars — On Sep 02, 2010

I always bring fruit and cheese to work for my mid afternoon snack. These are foods that provide energy. My favorite is gala apples and sharp cheddar. The fruits have both insoluble and soluble fiber, and enough carbohydrates to give an instant energy boost. The cheese has protein and fats that will sustain the energy boost for a few hours.

I also take a B vitamin complex in the morning to give myself an initial energy boost. The stuff I take is a combination of capsules and a powder. The powder has a small amount of protein and a multivitamin complex, making it a great breakfast on the go.

By PelesTears — On Sep 02, 2010

I keep a bag of dry roasted almonds in my truck and they are the best pick me up snack. They are loaded with good fats, fiber, and protein. They are also low in net carbohydrates, having only four grams or so per serving. Eating almonds everyday has also been proven to promote good heart health. Almonds are a healthy energy food that I try to make a regular part of my diet.

By CellMania — On Aug 02, 2010

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “you are what you eat”. It’s truer than people realize. The only way to have more energy and overall feel better is to eat foods that are better for you.

It is important to add enough high energy food into your diet. In these times where energy drinks are a hot commodity, it is easy to drink one in lieu of a meal. More often than not, it’s a bad idea. The energy drinks that you can pick up at most convenience stores are usually loaded with many things that you don’t need. The “high energy” in those drinks usually comes from mega-doses of caffeine.

I try to create my own high energy drinks. I mix bananas, honey, eggs and milk. It’s almost like tricking my brain into thinking that I’m having a milkshake!

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