We all know the feeling – it is mid-afternoon on a Tuesday and making it through the staggering
pile of work left for us before it is finally time to go home seems like a daunting task. The energy
drinks and candy bars in the break room vending machine are calling our names, like the
devious little tempters that they are.
Stop! Not only are those quick fixes unhealthy in the long term if consumed regularly, but they
are also ineffective in the short term. While an energy drink or a sugary candy bar will give you a
quick hit of energy, the following energy crash will likely leave you worse off than before. All you
are doing is putting the inevitable exhaustion off a little bit. Instead of an unsatisfying and unhealthy
quick-fix, eat one of those six foods instead to increase your energy level the healthy way!
Skip the chicken at lunch and go for the fish, instead. Halibut is a rich source of magnesium and
a slight magnesium deficiency is a very common cause of low energy levels! Magnesium is
needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies and one of those is breaking down
glucose into energy. A magnesium deficiency can make that conversion less efficient and result
in low energy levels!
If you don’t like Halibut or have neither a refrigerator at work nor a cafeteria for hot lunches,
don’t worry. Almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews are all excellent sources of magnesium, as well.
Whole grain cereals, especially bran cereal, can help you get to your daily recommended
300mg for women or 350mg for men of magnesium!
2. Whole grains
Whole grains are widely thought of as an important part of a healthy diet and there are plenty of
good reasons why! Whole grains are not only a great source of magnesium, but they are also a
lower glycemic index food than their refined counterparts.
By opting for a whole wheat bagel at breakfast, rather than a white one, you set yourself up for a
day of steady, strong energy levels. While refined grains are quickly converted to glucose in
your body, hitting your bloodstream all at once for a sharp energy spike followed by that all too
familiar and all too undesirable sluggish feeling, whole grains are digested more slowly,
releasing glucose into your bloodstream slowly and steadily. Whether you choose whole wheat
bread, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, or another grain, you won’t go wrong if you choose the
whole grain version!
Fruits are full of sugar and sugar provides you with quick energy. Unlike the sugar in a candy
bar, however, the sugar in fruit is packaged with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The vitamins and
minerals improve your overall health and wellbeing, resulting in better energy levels in the long
term. The fiber slows how quickly the sugar hits your bloodstream, so you have a steadier and
longer lasting energy rise without a harsh crash into lethargy.
If you want to mix it up, apples, oranges, pears, and berries are all great choices. Any fruit will
do! Try to choose fresh fruit over dried fruit as often as possible to maximize the energy benefits
and keep caloric intake in check.
Healthy carbohydrates are important for keeping energy levels high, but don’t forget about
protein. If you pair yogurt with your whole grain cereal or fresh fruit, the protein in the yogurt will
further slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream, providing you with longer lasting,
even energy. Choose greek yogurt over traditional yogurt for up to four times as much protein
Beans may not be the sexiest food out there, but they’re great for you! Beans are low-fat protein
powerhouses with a lot of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B vitamins. These vitamins
and minerals, especially paired with the slow-burning protein, are excellent for supporting a
healthy metabolism. That is a great reason to add chili to the menu tonight!
Hooray! It looks like you can justify a candy bar as a pick-me-up, after all, as long as you
choose the right kind of treat and keep an eye on portion sizes. Cacao is rich in flavanol, an
antioxidant that can help protect heart health. A healthy heart circulates more oxygen more
efficiently throughout your body, preventing you from falling into the 4pm slump.
The darker the chocolate, the better for you that it is. Higher cacao content in your chocolate bar
not only means that you are getting more of the good stuff in the cacao, but also that there is
less room for sugar!
Whether you are craving savory or sweet and whether you are looking for a meal or a snack,
there is an energy-boosting food out there for you. Include more of the six energy-boosting
foods listed above in your daily diet and enjoy the benefits of high energy! For more information on
nutrition visit www.freshnlean.com/blog.
1. Top 10 Energy-Boosting Foods and Drinks by Bari Lieberman, Men’s Fitness Magazine
2. 8 Energy-Boosting Foods by Alyssa Jung, Reader’s Digest
3. Top 10 Healthy Energy-Boosting Foods by Danielle Wong Moores, Healthline