Are you finding yourself reaching for just one more cup of coffee to get through the school or work day? Are you tired of being tired? Instead of relying on stimulants like coffee or sugar for energy, thrive by eating more foods that give you energy through nourishment. I eat these eight foods daily to provide consistent energy throughout the day.
- Hemp Seeds – Hemp is a superfood by any definition. A complete protein, rich in fiber and Omega-3s, hemp is a great low-glycemic addition to any diet. The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how fast the carbohydrates in food are broken down into glucose, and how much it will affect your blood sugar. Fiber, fat and protein all lower the GI of a food, which is why hemp seeds (along with nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes) are low-glycemic. Look for cold-pressed hemp seed oil for salad dressing, hemp protein for smoothies, and hemp seeds to toss onto salads and smoothies.
- Quinoa – This fluffy pseudo-grain is 20% protein — making it a balanced source of carbohydrates for anyone. It’s gluten-free and rich in B vitamins, which help to convert carbohydrates into energy in your body. Even if you feel like you’re too busy to make homemade meals, quinoa is a fast food that cooks in less than 15 minutes!
- Soaked Almonds – Raw almonds are nutrient dense, and soaking them unlocks higher nutrition potential. Soaking increases vitamin levels in almonds, and removes the enzyme inhibitors that slow down digestion. I soak my almonds in water over night (at least eight hours) and then dehydrate them.
- Coconut Oil – Virgin, organic coconut oil is one of my favorite fats to consume. Coconut oil is made of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are digested in the body like a carbohydrate; effortlessly converted by the liver into energy. I’ll use coconut oil when cooking, or combine it with dates for mid-workout fuel.
- All Dark Leafy Greens – Kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach and more are an energizing addition to your meals. All dark leafy greens are high in nutrients, rich sources of chlorophyll, yet low in calories. I make salads out of greens several times a day, and always start my morning with a plant-based smoothie that includes at least one cup of greens.
- Fresh Fruit – Although most fruit is high-glycemic when paired with a low-glycemic food (like nuts or seeds), they can keep your energy levels consistent. Berries are the lowest glycemic fruits and can be eaten alone without a negative effect on your energy.
- Green Tea – Caffeine from green tea feels steadier and less jittery than the spike and crash with caffeine from coffee. This is likely because green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea that helps promote relaxation.
- Yerba Maté – Yerba maté is more popular than coffee in Argentina. This caffeinated tea is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and electrolytes. Many people (myself included) find that it provides a less jittery energy than coffee. I will drink yerba maté hot or cold pre-workout. I formulated Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer with a combination of green tea and yerba maté (as well as low and high-glycemic carbohydrates) for an energizing pre-workout that won’t make you crash 30 minutes into your regimen.
By eating these eight foods regularly, you’ll find your energy levels are higher and more balanced. If you need an extra burst of energy before your workout, use my go-to pre-workout recipe:
Acai Berry Pre-Workout Energizer
Originally published in my latest book to the Thrive Series, “Thrive Energy Cookbook.”
• 4 fresh or frozen strawberries
• 1/3 cup chopped pineapple
• 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
• 1 scoop acai berry–flavor Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer
• 1/2 cup coconut water
• 1/2 cup acai berry juice
• 2 cups ice
In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the ice. Add ice to about one inch above the liquid line. Blend on high speed until smooth.