While it may be tempting to reach for coffee or sugary treats when feeling tired, the drop in blood sugar that often occurs soon afterward can cause lethargy and even depression. Choosing an energy food that is high in fiber and contains B vitamins can help convert carbohydrates into lasting energy, and create an overall feeling of well-being. The slow release of glucose when digesting such foods helps sustain vitality and avoid a drastic drop in blood sugar. Oatmeal, lentils, nuts, and fruits can make people feel more energetic while contributing to better health.
Eating a bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start the morning. It is a high energy food with plenty of fiber, that is also low on the glycemic index. Steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats are best. It is better to avoid the instant variety, which often contains sugar and sodium that can negate some of its energy-producing benefits. Natural oats do not normally cause the drop in blood glucose levels that causes fatigue.
Low in fat and calories and high in fiber and B vitamins, lentils and beans are excellent foods for increasing energy. Lentils are often incorporated into soup dishes instead of, or in addition to, meat products. Black beans are frequently used in Latin dishes, and combined with rice for a healthy combination of protein and carbohydrates. Other bean varieties, such as pinto and kidney beans, are frequently incorporated into dishes, or eaten on their own, as an energy food source.
Snacking on nuts can help sustain mental and physical stamina. The high-protein and unsaturated fats found in almonds, pecans, and walnuts not only give a boost of energy, but also improve overall health. They help lower cholesterol and promote a strong heart. A spoonful of peanut butter, also a nutritious energy food, can offer a quick pick-me-up as well.
Full of fuel for the body, fruits — like bananas, pineapples, and strawberries — are wholesome alternatives to energy-draining fatty foods. A glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice or a smoothie that combines various fresh fruits with yogurt are refreshing and invigorating beverages that may be enjoyed on-the-go. The vitamins and antioxidants in these drinks promote good health and keep the body revved up for activity.
In addition to eating high-energy food, many nutrition experts recommend consuming several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones. The boost this gives the metabolism improves vigor over a long period of time. Refueling the body every few hours usually contributes to an overall feeling of vitality.