Best Foods That Give You Energy | 28 Energizing Options

Quality food gives your body the energy you need to have a great day! This post will list the 28 best foods that give you energy (and some recipes!), providing superb alternatives to that extra cup of coffee!

Are you looking for the best foods that give you energy? This post will list 28 energy-boosting foods (and some recipes!). Remember: stay away from sweets and excess caffeine!

Everyone has experienced an energy slump before—that feeling like you’ve got to sleep and you just don’t have the wherewithal to get through the day. If that happens to you often, you’ll want to read this post all the way to the end. Cuz I’ve got the info you need to get your energy back. And keep it.

It’s not an impossible feat and the end result is going to be worth it. It’s as simple as making sure the best foods that give you energy are a part of your typical day. I’m going to list foods that will provide all-day energy, giving you the nutrients you need. So, stock your pantry and fridge, and get ready to kick those spikes and dips in energy to the curb!

Close up image of a seated person in the sunset drinking water.

What Gives You Energy Naturally?

There are several ways to get energy naturally and I’ll go over a few here. From food to self-care, it’s all part of lifestyle changes that will do you good!

Breathe deeply: Yoga poses and a meditation session can give you a little pick me up. Try the downward dog.

Put on the radio: Singing along to your favorite tune can give you a boost.

Eat nuts: A handful of nuts is thought to give a quick pop of energy. It’s the magnesium that does the trick.

See the sun: Step outside for a few minutes of sun and feel the energy return.

Don’t smoke: I’m going to say don’t smoke for so many reasons. But for starters, the tobacco in cigarettes is a stimulant that raises your blood pressure and heart ratebut it does not last.

Reduce stress: It’s surprising how much stress can sap energy. But it does. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed, or at the very least, have a heart to heart with a close friend.

And of course, eating the foods I mention below will help too! Read on to get the scoop.

Close up image of a mason jar filled with Cinnamon Raisin Overnight Oats Recipe, topped with raisins.

What Foods Help With Fatigue?

To curb those feelings of fatigue, take advantage of some quick fixes like peanut butter on whole-grain toast, scrambled eggs, or a serving of oatmeal. I like to have oats ready in the fridge at all times for moments of tiredness I need to beat. Try my overnight oats recipes so you have this energy-boosting breakfast or snack close at hand.

What Foods Give You Energy And Boost Your Mood?

Dark chocolate is a mood-raising, energy-boosting food that tastes delicious. Top your overnight oats with chocolate chunks or keep a batch of dark chocolate energy bites nearby! I also love anything nutty. Slice up an apple or banana and serve with some smile-inducing homemade peanut butter for instant energy.

Image of 7 cans of energy drinks lined up on a marble countertop, lying down.

Foods That Sap Your Energy

No post about the best foods that give you energy would be complete without mentioning foods that drain you of pep. Let’s take a quick look:

  • Fast food (which is typically fried) can sap your energy because the low fiber and high-fat content slow down digestion and make you feel sluggish. Totally. Blah.
  • Overdoing coffee can have detrimental effects on your energy. Sure, coffee has benefits, but too much can lead to tolerance and dependence on the effects of caffeine.
  • Energy drinks may cause you to get less sleep, starting a frustrating cycle of less energy. Relying too much on energy drinks can also lead to the need to drink more to feel the same boost.
  • Alcohol, if not consumed in moderation, will affect your sleep and cause you to have less energy.
  • Processed grains (for example, white pasta and white bread) can cause a rise in blood sugar levels and then a drop, sapping your energy.

Foods with hidden sugar (see a comprehensive list here) typically have low fiber content, can lead to cravings for more sugar, and also deplete energy.

Side view of summer corn edamame salad, filled with cooked quinoa, sliced red onions, edamame, and fresh corn.

Best Foods That Give You Energy

I’ve pulled the 28 most energy packed foods so you can find more than a few options that fit your taste and lifestyle.

1. Edamame: Edamame is full of nutrients but low in calories. Its got the protein needed for the body’s energy stores and manganese is an energy-inducing mineral. 

Recipe: Try a summer corn edamame salad for dinner tonight!

2. Beets: Beets are an anti-oxidant powerhouse. Blood flow and nitric oxide production are aided by the compounds in beets, which boost energy.

Recipe: You are going to love beet hummus!

3. Lentils: Lentils are packed with iron. They’re delicious and a great vegan alternative to meat. 

Recipe: Sweet potato and lentil hash (with kale too!) is a super-booster for energy.

4. Spinach: Speaking of kale, leafy greens are great for energy. Spinach is too, with vitamins like A, C, E, and K. 

Recipe: You’ve gotta try these spinach and feta burgers – fire up the BBQ!

Bowl of butternut squash instant pot chili from overhead, which is topped with fresh cilantro and sliced jalapeno pepper.

5. Beans: Beans are high in fiber, allowing for slow digestion and a bump up in energy stores.

Recipe: Butternut squash instant pot chili is easy peasy to make and has lots of black beans for nutrition!

6. Bananas: I love bananas for the taste but also for the potassium. I freeze them for smoothies and use them in all kinds of recipes.

Recipe: Looking for healthy banana nut bread? Here it is!

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7. Chickpeas: Chickpeas are another amazing protein source with the double bonus of fiber to provide vitality.

Recipe: You can’t beat hummus! Here is a hummus recipe drizzled in good-for-you olive oil.

8. Brown rice: Brown rice, because it has a good fiber content (more so than white), it’s considered a low-glycemic food that promotes energy.

Recipe: Brown rice pilaf with flank steak is an excellent recipe to try.

9. Smoothies: Smoothies, because they are full of things like berries and muscle-building protein powder, are a great choice. I love a smoothie for its grab ‘n go convenience too!

Recipe: Make a 6-ingredient or less smoothie after your next exercise session

10. Nuts: Yep, go nuts with nuts for energy! Walnuts, cashews, and almonds are all on my list of favorite snacks. Walnuts, for example, are high in omega-3s and healthy fats

Recipe: Get a serving of walnuts in these overnight oats for a quick energy blast.

Horizontal image of the Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl which is sitting next to fresh strawberries, blueberries, and chocolate shavings.

11. Quinoa: What’s not amazing about quinoa? It’s known as a superfood because it is a terrific protein source and is a low glycemic carb. It is absorbed slowly and has nutritional assets like folate and magnesium.

Recipe: I love a quinoa breakfast bowl to start the day. It fills you up and gives you stamina all day to get things done.

12. Sweet potatoes: This complex carb is full of vitamin A and pretty high in manganese too. It’s digested slowly by the body, providing day-long energy.

Recipe: I’ve got tons of sweet potato recipes because they are so ah-mazing! Try some of these–>19 recipes.

Homemade Breakfast Burritos - Adding The Eggs

13. Eggs: I have written a post on the many benefits of eggs. You can eat them often—just make sure you vary the cooking method. Don’t fry them with bacon every day! 

Recipe: I love egg muffin cups. They are great, especially if you like meal prep.

14. Avocado: Avocados are on the superfood list along with quinoa. Healthy fats are their claim to fame, along with the delicious taste, of course. They provide energy due to the high fiber content.

Recipe: Combine eggs and avocado for avocado toast. It’s fantastic!

15. Dark chocolate: Cocoa is an antioxidant that helps increase blood flow, raising your mood and reducing fatigue.

Recipe: Looking for chocolate and energy? Make these dark chocolate cherry energy bites and watch them disappear. 

Close up view of two white bowls containing matcha green tea frozen yogurt, with spoons in the bowls.

16. Matcha: Matcha is an antioxidant that is often enjoyed as a tea. It’s got some caffeine to give you an energy boost.

Recipe: Looking for a low-calorie and absolutely delicious frozen yogurt? You’ve got it in the matcha green tea frozen yogurt.

17. Cottage Cheese: Talk about good protein sources—cottage cheese is one of them. It’s a great snack that fills you up and gives you zeal for life!

Recipe: This healthy alfredo sauce has 4 ingredients and one of them is cottage cheese.

18. Salmon: Salmon is often described as a fatty fish and that’s the great thing about it! It is full of healthy omega-3’s. It’s got vitamin B 12 too, known to increase red blood cells which spells–>fatigue buster.

Recipe: This salmon meal prep recipe is a fantastic way to have protein at your fingertips whenever meal time comes around.

19. Steel cut oats: Oats are an excellent source of fiber and protein that stay with you long after you eat them, providing energy all morning long.

Recipe: One of my favorite ways to start the day is with strawberries and cream steel cut oats. If you’ve watched my videos (let’s say, on what I eat in a day), you’ll know I am a fan of strawberries!

Side view of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has unbaked homemade bagels that are covered with various toppings, like everything mix and cinnamon sugar, that are ready to be baked for the homemade bagel recipe.

20. Greek yogurt: I use Greek yogurt in almost everything! You can read about the 12 benefits I researched here and see why. For one, it’s great for your cardiovascular health.

Recipe: Try this delicious homemade bagel recipe for tasty bagels easily prepared at home.

21. Apples: Apples are perfect when a quick energy boost is needed. Top them with peanut butter or eat them along with a slice of cheese. They provide fiber and vitamins and have tons of antioxidants.

Recipe: You’ve gotta try healthy cinnamon apples. Do it. No need to say more!

22. Oranges: Everyone knows oranges provide tons of vitamin C but did you know they have antioxidants that can improve fatigue? They can reduce oxidative stress and improve blood pressure. These, in turn, help you have better energy.

Recipe: This orange protein shake ticks all the boxes for terrific taste!

Hand holding a brown rice cake that has homemade strawberry jam spread over it and is ready to eat.

23. Strawberries: I mentioned strawberries with the steel cut oats but they are so good for you that I’ve got to talk about them more! Strawberries are a great anti-inflammatory food (more listed here!) and provide energy.

Recipe: Make this strawberry sorbet (only 3 ingredients, folks!) for awesome taste and a super fresh dessert.

24. Seeds: You gotta love seeds! Flaxseeds and chia seeds are both high on my list of healthy things to add to puddings, shakes, vinaigrettes, and more. Omega-3s come into play again, giving you the energy you need.

Recipe: If you like pudding, you’ll LOVE chocolate chia pudding.

25. Popcorn: Popcorn has fiber and is a good choice over chips and other junk food when you are craving a snack. Like many other foods on this list, fiber helps to slow down digestion and keep the digestive system running smoothly. A healthy digestive system means more energy.

Recipe: Do ya love popcorn? Try this healthy homemade popcorn recipe.

Overhead view of a kale and kiwi smoothie in a mason jar, with slices of kiwi and kale leaves around the smoothie.

26. Kale: Kale is versatile, full of fiber, and contains the amino acid L-tyrosine which can help your mood and reduce stress. Less stress translates to enhanced energy!

Recipe: This kale and kiwi smoothie is beyond delicious! You’ll love it.

27. Pistachios: Besides being super tasty, pistachios are full of potassium. I didn’t mention them in my nut section above because I wanted to give them full benefit on their own. Pistachios are fabulous—think eye health, heart health, and cancer risk reduction. And the protein is perfect for giving you get-up-and-go.

Recipe: Pistachio dark chocolate bark is full of energy-boosting ingredients, especially the decadent dark chocolate and the power-packed pistachios.

28. Water: Last, but not at all least, is water. Water hydrates you and keeps you from feeling sluggish and slow. Being hydrated is key to good health in general.

Recipe: Lemon water is the way to go, with plenty of benefits. I like to mix apple cider vinegar in my water as well – and you’d be surprised what that can do for your health. From weight loss to improving hair health, it’s an amazing thing to add to water.

I’m pretty confident that you’ll improve your energy when you add these best foods for energy to your daily eating regimen. You’ll feel so much better!

1 quart mason jar filled with watermelon, basil, and water for infused water.

Other Ways To Boost Energy

Along with the food mentioned above, it’s a good idea to put into place other strategies for energy. 

Drink water: As mentioned just above, this is an important one. Our bodies need hydration and the more we drink, the better we feel. Besides a glass of water, you can get your fluids from alternative sources like tea, coffee, cucumbers, strawberries, and citrus fruits. Bonus: If you love infused water, try these delicious recipes!

Get your sleep: Sleep is important to so many things, including having the energy you need for day-to-day life. Read my post on how to get the sleep you need!

Exercise regularly: You know exercise would be in here somewhere, right? Yep, it’s because adequate exercise opens the door to good health! I’ve written a post on the best time to exercise and how to get motivated to fit in fitness every day. 

See your doctor: If you feel fatigued a lot of the time, see your doctor for a checkup to rule out an underlying issue. Sometimes, feeling tired is accepted by us when it shouldn’t be and a doctor may be able to provide answers.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

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