Nutrition Articles

Top 10 Energy Boosting Powerhouses

Foods that Pack the Punch

293SHARES
Get ready to dump that coffee down the drain. You’re about to be introduced to a group of tasty, healthier energy sources that won’t give you the jitters, make you cranky, or cost $4.75 a cup.

You're body's preferred energy source is carbohydrates.  But the key is eating the right kinds of carbs, ones that will give you that much-needed energy without sending your energy levels crashing. 

The solution? Keep your carb levels on an even keel to avoid those sugary spikes. Since your blood sugar drops four hours after eating, it means eating more frequent, smaller meals. It means concentrating on low-fat, high-fiber foods and complex carbs – these are broken down slowly and steadily, giving you regular energy throughout the day.

Our 10 Favorite Energy Foods
  1. Whole wheat pasta
  2. Oatmeal
  3. Fruit smoothies made with low-fat yogurt
  4. Peanut butter
  5. Dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, raisins, figs)
  6. Yams
  7. Beans
  8. Apples
  9. Carrots
  10. Chickpeas
Also:
  • Eat breakfast! This is absolutely the #1 "eating for energy" strategy. It gets your metabolism off to a strong start and makes nighttime snacking a thing of the past. (Coffee is not breakfast.)
  • Avoid grease (burgers and fries) and high-fat dairy foods (pizza, ice cream, cheese) and choose lower-fat versions instead.
  • Focus on whole grains, which are good sources of vitamin B, aiding the metabolic production of energy.
  • Don’t forget iron, an energy-boosting mineral.
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293SHARES

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Member Comments

  • Every person needs to individualize their food intake; there is NO "one plan works for all!" And yes, that INCLUDES the government's 'pyramid' plan AND the standard Spark People recommendations. If heavy carb works well for you - great! Eat those recommended complex grains and that natural sugar. If you're trying to trim body fat down LOW for cross-fit purposes - great! Eat Paleo/ Primal (depending on your take re: dairy). If you tend toward addictive eating around flours and grains, the Flour-addict or OTHER plan out there that will work for you! If you prefer all organic & whole foods and wouldn't dream of touching anything processed - great! Recommend your finds from the Famer's Market to us. If you're anti coffee/ tea/ caffiene - just don't drink it. If you DISLIKE the idea of adding artificial sweetners, chemicial additives like colors/ flavors/ enhances/ preservatives, find and suggest sources that are free of these agents.
    Please just remember to show respect and tolerance for those individual Spark People who do NOT choose to eat the way YOU choose to eat. After all, we are ALL on Spark People to adapt how we "USED to EAT" and how we "USED to EXERCISE" and how we "USED to THINK" into healthier patterns. Each of us came from different places, and plan to end up in similar - yet different - places. Consequently, all of us will travel some parallel yet slightly different paths enroute -- whether Paleo/ Primal/ Vegetarian/Vegan/ USGOV pyramid/Low Glycemic Index.
    Maryjean
    "Eat good foods. Not too much. Move your body. Not too little. Love others. Never too much."
    - 5/25/2012 12:51:20 PM
  • I eat from that list often, good to know that they are energyzing BUT I will not pour my coffee down the drain..........LO
    L Trust me, that would not be pretty. - 9/2/2011 9:40:35 AM
  • This was a great article! Most of the items on that list are things I am already eating but for newbies, the list comes in handy! Dried fruit may seem high in sugar but like everything, if kept in moderation it is a very healthy and tasty treat. I eat oatmeal almost every morning; it tastes great and fills you up. After a long run, those are the carbs I need to refuel and get on with my day. - 2/4/2011 9:01:11 PM
  • CRIS37
    Agree with Shelly Type 2 Diabetes problems with some of this advise.
    Glad you commented Shelly. - 2/4/2011 1:03:05 PM
  • Coffee isn't a food per se, but I use 4 oz soymilk in my coffee every morning and that actually acts as a very small break-fast food. I usually don't eat actual breakfast for several hours after I get up in the mornings, and the soymilk early on helps keep me from feeling ravenous by the time I'm able to eat. - 2/4/2011 9:19:25 AM
  • Peanut butter is what helps sustain my appetite for a few hours in the morning... Either on a light muffin, whole wheat toast, banana or apple. - 2/3/2011 9:17:14 PM
  • SHELLEYJULIAN
    The list contains raisins that are very high on the glycemic index. I am insulin resistant and would only eat raisins if I needed an emergency lift....and would insure I ate them with a protein to avoid a sugar spike. I do not agree with the raisins or cranberries on the list and think that fresh or frozen berries would be a better fruit food to include. - 2/3/2011 4:28:29 PM
  • I love my protein shake in the morning and then coffee. - 2/3/2011 3:15:49 PM
  • My coffee has very few calories and gets me going - I do not eat breakfast until around 10 am - so adding food early will just increase my calories - No thanks!! - 2/3/2011 2:05:52 PM
  • And low-carb diets aren't that good. Your diet should consist or 45-65% of your calories from carbs. You just have to make those complex carbs, like wheat bread, oatmeal, like the article said instead of simple carbs. Carbohydrate in the form of glucose is the only form of energy that your brain uses, and if you don't get enough carbs, your body has to convert protein into glucose, which strips from protein from doing it's actual purpose. - 2/3/2011 11:23:02 AM
  • Fruit and dried fruit does have a lot of sugar...but since it's natural it's good for you and is very unlikely to lead to weight gain. And smoothies are good as long as there isn't added sugar in the smoothie. So if you make a smoothie yourself with some frozen fruit and some skim milk, thats an excellent snack. You just have to watch smoothies that you can buy at fast food places or at like smoothie king because they most often add a ton of extra sugar. - 2/3/2011 11:19:46 AM
  • LBZ_2DROP
    The first paragraph is talking about CAFFEINE. That's a whole different issue. I've gotta have my morning cup of coffee. Then the good carbs follow . . . . - 2/3/2011 10:57:41 AM
  • I agree with OUTDOORSDC. I can't figure out why smoothies are so recommended. They're almost always high sugar. And even if you get the non-dairy ones, they still seem to me like modern day milkshakes. - 2/3/2011 10:08:10 AM
  • I noticed that several people said they needed a protein or fat to get going. I think there is a misconception here that they believe you should eat these foods alone..this is wrong, incorporate these foods into your diet
    If you need that protein, or fat, add it in...
    Put peanut butter on your bagel instead of cream cheese .
    use whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, add chopped up carrots, and beans to recipes.
    A great breakfast is some instant oatmeal with some cinnamon, and a chopped up apple mixed in ...
    - 2/3/2011 10:07:28 AM
  • K-LUEBCKE
    I still don't understand why all "energy boosting foods" tend to recommend you avoid fats that will ensure you absorb a number of vitamins. Don't think you'll feel too energetic when you're missing those. Plus, the brain is predominantly made of fat. Cell walls are predominantly made of fat. Your body will eventually convert excess carbohydrates to fat, either for storage or to get them for day to day nutrition.

    My experience is that most of these (minus the peanut butter and maybe the chickpeas) would leave me quite hungry in about an hour. I'd think a boiled egg would be a great choice instead. - 2/3/2011 9:51:02 AM

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