Eating for Energy: 5 Foods to Boost Your Energy Levels

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Banana slices in bowl

If you wake up feeling sluggish or often hit a mid-day slump, then you might be wondering if there are food choices you can make which will help turbocharge your waning energy. We’re all busy—and often pulled in a lot of different directions—but staying energized with the right food choices is key.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, the same advice that’s often given for healthful eating and weight loss also applies to boosting your energy—eat a balanced diet. Of course, certain foods are certainly better than others when it comes to getting that pick-me-up you might be seeking. For instance, you likely already know that candy will only give you a temporary sugar rush: it won’t actually give you long, sustained energy like whole grains or healthy fats. In fact, there’s typically a sugar “crash” that tends to follow that rush, defeating the entire purpose.

Instead, reach for these five foods that can help give you a boost of energy!

1. Dark Chocolate

Stack of broken chocolate bar pieces

Why: Bet you didn’t think chocolate would top this list of foods that give you energy! Dark chocolate is a satisfying treat, but it also contains antioxidants, caffeine and nutrients that will help you battle fatigue. This makes it a much smarter choice when you have a craving for candy. A study, published in Frontiers in Immunology, found that cocoa polyphenols release nitric oxide. This dilates blood vessels and allows for better blood flow, which can make you feel less lethargic. If you’re looking for a mid-day pick-me-up, this sweet option can be a good choice in moderation.

Try: Look for stevia-sweetened dark chocolate to cut out unnecessary sugar. Use a square to make these ooey, gooey, chocolaty Air Fryer S’mores! >

2. Avocado

avocado on a black background.

Why: Avocadoes are a superfood thanks to their powerful levels of healthy fats. But they are also a rich source of B vitamins, also known as the energy vitamins. According to the National Library of Medicine, “These vitamins help the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat.”

Try: Enjoy rich and creamy avocado in this Roasted Turkey and Avocado BLT! >

3. Bananas

Raw Organic Bunch of Bananas

Why: Bananas are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients. But a study published in PLOS One also found that they can be an excellent source of energy during exercise. In fact, the results showed that bananas can be as beneficial as sports drinks when it comes to helping athletes get the boost they need during a workout. It helps that bananas are also a highly portable snack that can be tossed into a purse or backpack and taken to-go.

Try: Start your day the sweet way with our recipe for Maple Banana Oatmeal! >

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4. Sweet Potatoes

Raw sweet potatoes

Why: From crispy sweet potato fries to creamy mashed sweet potatoes, there are so many ways to enjoy this satisfying spud. However, this tasty root veggie isn’t just versatile, it’s also nutritious. Sweet potatoes also contain energy boosting nutrients, including vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin C. We consider it a SmartCarb on Nutrisystem due to the higher carbohydrate content, which also provides an energy boost.

Try: Sweet potatoes are already so delicious, they don’t need much dressing up. Try this simple recipe for Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes! >

5. Eggs

fresh organic farm eggs on burlap

Why: Start your day with an energizing egg breakfast! According to research, published in Nutrition Today, eggs are nutrient-dense and provide energy from protein and fat. They also contain B vitamins, “which are required for the production of energy by the body.”

Try: Sure eggs for breakfast are a great choice. However, they also make a great satisfying lunch. Try this easy Egg Salad Pepper Sandwich recipe! >

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BONUS Energy Boosting Tip: Eat smaller, more frequent meals!

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Eating every three to four hours may help fuel a healthy metabolism and prevent between-meal hunger that can lead to unwise snacking or overeating at meals.” Consistently fueling your body by eating frequently throughout the day can help you feel better and be more focused.

With Nutrisystem, we help you transition from eating one to two meals a day to eating more frequently. Our weight loss plans allow you to eat six times a day with three satisfying meals and snacks. Plus, with our NEW Hearty Inspirations premium meals, you can feel full and sustain your energy with delicious, high-protein dinners. Learn more and get started today! >