5 Foods to Eat for Energy

By Jeanette Kimszal, RDN, NLC
Fighting to stay awake during the day? In today’s society people are so busy they run themselves ragged. Instead of feeling refreshed there is often a battle to stay awake throughout the day.
Caffeine and sugar will offer for a boost, but ultimately, it will leave a lingering feeling of tiredness. Energy levels play a large role in your overall health. So if you are constantly fatigued it could lead to a bigger problem.
Sleep is important to increase energy production, but good nutrition is also vital for maintaining energy throughout the day. People often do not see the connection between energy and what they are eating. You are what you eat so if your diet consists of mostly processed foods it is no wonder you are wiped out by 3’o clock.
To get more energy in your life you will have to fuel your body with food that will make it thrive. This includes increasing your intake of nutrient dense whole foods and decreasing the amount of processed food. It does not have to be a big change. You can start by slowing incorporating more healthy foods into your diet today! 
Here are 5 foods that will elevate your energy levels to keep you awake and alert throughout the day.
  1. Almonds: Almonds are a great snack to add to your diet and are a source of fiber. Fiber is important for keeping you full and satisfied. Fiber helps improve digestion and regulates your blood sugar. Almonds have also been shown to help maintain weight. You can eat a handful, have the slivered variety in your breakfast bowl, and use them as breading on your favorite veggies or meat.
  2. Kale: This leafy green veggie is great for adding energy to your day. It is rich in B vitamins which are a catalyst to create cell reactions. The more your cells produce energy the more energetic you will feel. Some ways to include it in your diet are blended in a breakfast smoothie, as a base for a salad, or baking the leaves with a little garlic or parsley in the oven to create “chips”. Kale chips have been popular for several years with Jennifer Garner recently sharing her kids choose her homemade kale chips over any other! Hate the way kale tastes? Finely chop and hide in your favorite meatball recipe.
  3. Quinoa is a great carbohydrate to have at lunch for extra energy. Unlike pasta or bread this complex carbohydrate will give you a boost of fiber and bonus protein to keep you going into the afternoon. Like leafy greens this food provides essential B complex vitamins. Quinoa can be used in so many ways! Including substituting it for rice, using in a breakfast bowl, and making an EduPlated favorite – Crispy Quinoa Patties
  4. Pumpkin seeds: I have been obsessed with pumpkin seeds lately. This little seed offers so much nutrition. Like almonds they offer protein, fat and fiber so they are a snack that is great to satisfy your hunger. They also have magnesium which is a vital nutrient for energy production. This mineral is needed by the mitochondria in your cells to create ATP which are needed to give you energy. Pumpkin seeds are a versatile food. You can add them to your oatmeal, salad, eat them plain, or add them to your favorite recipe for a nutrient boost.
  5. Avocado: This vegetable that is technically a fruit is a trifecta of nutrients. It has fiber, fat, and a host of minerals like potassium and magnesium that will help your cells pump up the energy production. The best thing about this food is its creamy texture that will fill you up without feeling tired. Avocados should be part of your daily diet. Some ways to sneak it into your eating plan: mash and put on top of toast in place of butter or nut butter, use in place of mayonnaise in sandwiches or in egg or chicken salad, and dice up to add a savory component to any salad or quinoa bowl.

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