If you find yourself dozing off at work or really wishing you’d hit the snooze button another time, it may be time to consider your food choices throughout the day before you reach for that energy drink to keep you going until your lunch break, or when it’s time to punch out for the day. For a quick boost of energy, try snacking on one of these foods to get you going in the morning or during that afternoon lull.
Specifically cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts. A handful of nuts contains a ton of protein and magnesium, which helps your body metabolize sugar and turn it into energy. Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to low levels of energy.
Okay, maybe it’s a cop-out, but coffee has been proven again and again to increase alertness, mental acuity, and focus. Stick to black coffee over sugar-packed energy drinks to avoid drinking your daily calorie budget in one go.
According to Self.com nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D., the combination of natural sugars and fiber in raspberries gives your body a steady stream of energy without crashes later on.
The Self.com nutritionists also noted that a common cause of tiredness is iron deficiency. Lentils are a great way to get some iron into your diet, even if you’re a vegan or vegetarian avoiding more traditional sources of iron like red meat.
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5. Cheese and crackers
A snack made of whole grains and protein can help up your blood sugar without the crash that comes from sugar and refined carbohydrates. Whole-grain, baked crackers and a low-fat cheese is an excellent option for a savory energy boost.
Huffington Post interviewed dietician Kim Stinson-Burt, who recommended bananas as a quick pick me up. The potassium and B vitamins lend themselves to blood sugar stability and can help your body make the most of other foods that you eat throughout the day.
Stinson-Burt also suggested salmon as a high-energy food. This fish’s high Omega-3 content can improve brain function, giving you more energy and alertness, and the protein certainly doesn’t hurt either. Whole-grain bagel and lox, anyone?
Because dehydration is a common culprit of grogginess during the day, sipping on a glass of water while you’re tired may be all you need. Your personal hydration needs will vary depending on your diet, activity levels, and climate, so drink when you feel thirsty rather than adhering to a specific number of ounces per day.
9. Lean meats
If you’ve chosen to cut out fat and carbohydrate as part of a nutritional plan, then your body is largely relying on protein for energy. A snack of a few slices of turkey or low-fat chicken salad will give your body the fuel that it needs, as well as the amino acids that are necessary for good brain function.
A combination of caffeine and theobromine (another stimulant) gives dark chocolate treats an extra energy punch (stick to dark chocolate over milk, which is higher in fat and typically sugar content, or white chocolate, which does not contain caffeine). Plus, any positive associations you have with chocolate may give your mood a boost, as well.
What foods do you go for when you need a mid-day energy boost?