Employees and at-home workers know the beauty of a mid-afternoon caffeine pick me up. No matter if you work for a small startup or a huge company, most employees know all too well the struggle of getting through a rough workday. More often than not, the go-to choice for an energy boost is a cup of Joe. In fact, the average coffee drinker in the U.S. consumes about 3.1 cups of coffee a day.
Though coffee is nothing short of amazing, it does have its drawbacks. Excessive consumption can lead to dehydration and way too many bathroom trips. Too much caffeine can also cause headaches and energy spikes with steep drops.
Luckily there are tons of other energy-packed foods that you can enjoy without the caffeine crash. Here are 7 foods that are sure to keep you alert and help you make it through those rough slumps.
These days smoothies and smoothie bowls are all the rage. Smoothies are perfect for those busy mornings when you want something filling but don’t have the time to cook a meal. On social media sites, you’re likely to find hundreds of smoothie recipes, most of which incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables to give you a nutrient-packed punch.
To boost your energy levels, be sure to include ingredients such as Greek yogurt for protein, spinach for vitamins and nutrients, a banana, and flax seeds. To stay full until lunch time, add a scoop of protein powder for a protein boost.
The health benefits of beans are endless. If you want a wholesome snack that will give you hours of energy, give hummus a try. This mix of chickpeas and spices is the perfect post-lunch pick me up. Most people use chips to dip into their hummus. If you prefer the salty crisp crunch, look into healthier chip options such as lentil or kale chips. Other dipping options to try include:
- Cucumber slices
- Celery sticks
- Baby carrots
3. Trail Mix
Trail mix is the ideal energy-booster if you’re one of those people that go crazy for sweet and salty snacks. Grab a few handfuls and enjoy a crunchy snack no matter the time of day. Quality trail mix offers a solid combination of fiber, protein, and fats, all of which will give you lasting energy. Since store-bought trail mix can be a bit pricey, consider making your own at home using almonds, peanuts, chocolate morsels, dried fruit, yogurt bites, and other tasty ingredients.
4. Greek Yogurt & Berries
Grocery store shelves are packed with all sorts of Greek yogurt options. To get the most out of this snack, choose the low-fat option. You’ll also want to steer clear of flavored Greek yogurt as it’s often chock full of added sugars, which can lead to a midday energy crash.
To add some natural sweetness, cut up fresh berries and add them to the mix. Some of our favorites include strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. You can also add a tablespoon of honey or agave nectar to curb your sweet tooth. For a delicious crunchy topping, try granola. Granola is full of complex carbs as well as fiber.
5. Homemade Energy Bites
Embrace the art of meal-prepping by creating your own energy bites. These bite-sized balls are an ideal snack for when you’re on-the-go and need a quick boost of energy. Must-have ingredients in your energy bites include:
- Chia seeds
- Coconut shavings
- Chocolate chips
- Nut butter
- Dried fruit
Energy bites are the perfect grab and go option. They fit easily into a purse, don’t need to be refrigerated, and are virtually mess free!
6. Peanut Butter & Bananas
Bananas and peanut butter are a match made in food heaven. Bananas are mostly fiber and sugar, but the fruit is also high in potassium, magnesium, and folate. Not a fan of bananas? Apples are a great substitute, and the high fiber content will keep you fuller for longer!
Both bananas and apples taste amazing with peanut butter. PB and other nut butters are full of fiber, fat, and protein. This will not only keep you energized, but you can confidently snack knowing you’re eating healthily.
Despite their bad reputation in the past, eggs are a protein-packed food that will give your body the jumpstart it needs to get going in the morning. Protein not only gives you energy, it also protects your body by helping to maintain muscle mass.
But, if you’re like most people, you don’t have the time in the morning to make breakfast. The good news about eggs is that you can make them the night before and enjoy them just as much the next day. Enjoy them scrambled with low-fat cheese or go to easy route by boiling them.
For most people, coffee will still stand as the go-to food for a much needed energy boost, but if you’re looking for more nutritious and filling options, consider the foods above to help you make it through those really rough days.
As the owner of squareship, Nate Robinson shares his thoughts, “You have to remember to eat, especially on the job, your brain needs all the fuel it can get.”
Do you have any secret power foods? What gets you up and moving in the morning? Tell us about your pick-me-up in the comments below.