POV: It’s mid-afternoon and you’re feeling tapped out. You’ve already chugged two cups of coffee, but with the long list of tasks ahead of you, you’re tempted to pour yourself a third or dive into your stash of treats. The thing is, you know that burst of energy won’t last.
If this cycle sounds all-too familiar, it’s worth evaluating what you’re fueling yourself with at breakfast and lunch, because the best way to keep your energy steady through the day is to make sure you’re feeding yourself with good, energy-boosting foods.
Here are 6 we recommend.
Nicknamed the “magical fruit,” beans are infamous for causing bloat and gas, but they’re also super nutritious. They’re a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein, which take time to digest, meaning they give you slow and steady energy that can last for hours.
There are hundreds of varieties of beans that are super versatile. So you can easily add them to almost any meal. Try making chili, black bean salsa, hummus or roasted chickpeas for your salad.
But remember: the more you eat, the more you toot! If you’re not used to beans, start small. Add them to your diet slowly and gradually increase your intake. This helps your gut adjust to the amount of fiber and lessens those symptoms of gas and bloating.
2. Greek yogurt
Whether it’s at breakfast or as a snack, Greek yogurt is one of the best foods to help overcome midday slumps. It has natural sugars like lactose that give you a quick fuel boost, alongside protein and healthy fats that prevent the kind of sugar crash you get from processed snacks.
Not only that, but Greek yogurt has probiotics that help with nutrient absorption, enabling your body to extract and use more energy from the other foods you eat. What’s more, those probiotics help regulate blood sugar levels to prevent spikes and dips that can also affect energy.1
Try making Greek yogurt parfait with your favorite fruit, add it to smoothies or dip banana slices in Greek yogurt and freeze it overnight for a tasty snack the next day.
3. Peanut butter
Besides extreme deliciousness and an ability to pair with (almost) anything, peanut butter is also great for lasting energy. It’s packed with healthy fats and protein, meaning a little goes a long way. Just two tablespoons have about 8 grams of protein that help slow digestion and keep blood sugar levels steady.
Peanut butter is also high in the amino acid tyrosine, a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine, brain chemicals that promote alertness and motivation to help you power through your to-dos.
Start your morning with a PB and banana smoothie or slather a spoonful on apple slices or crackers for an easy afternoon snack.
When your body is under stress—during a busy workday, say—it can create free radicals, natural substances that can damage your cells and leave you feeling tired and sluggish. The antioxidants in berries help neutralize these free radicals, keeping your cells healthy and your energy levels high.
But that’s not all; berries are nutrient powerhouses, filled with natural sugars like fructose and glucose for quick fuel. And they’re also high in fiber that can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates for steady energy throughout the day.
Eat berries plain as a pick-me-up afternoon snack or add them to your cereal, oatmeal or Greek yogurt at breakfast.
A breakfast favorite, oats are one of the best sources of long-lasting energy. Oats are a low-glycemic index food, meaning they don’t spike your blood sugar or make you feel wiped out later. They’re also high in complex carbs and soluble and insoluble fiber. These slow the absorption of simple carbs to prevent energy dips and keep you feeling satisfied longer.
Try making overnight oats if you’re short on time in the mornings or add them to your smoothies to gain all their benefits.
While eating a plate of spinach might not give you super strength like Popeye, it can help with your energy.
Spinach is rich in iron, a key nutrient that helps your body produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your cells. It also contains nitrates, compounds that help improve blood flow and oxygen to your cells. This can help increase energy, cognitive function and even improve athletic performance according to some studies.2
So start your mornings with a spinach omelet or eat a power-green side salad for lunch to boost your energy and focus throughout the day.
Check out next: 6 reasons your energy may be low
Gabby is a Nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues through diet.
Gabby is just one of the many experts at Persona who are here to accelerate your wellness journey. If you have questions about nutrition or your personalized program, reach out now or book a free appointment with Gabby or another of our amazing nutritionists.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.