All food provides the body with energy, but this energy can vary greatly. Some foods, such as sugars and refined carbs, give the body a quick jolt of energy. However, more often, the body needs more sustainable energy from ingredients such as fruits, grains, and legumes.
Bananas may be the best quick snack for sustained energy. While bananas are a good natural source of sugar, they are also rich in fibers that help slow the digestion of that sugar. Bananas contain helpful nutrients that make the body feel full of energy.
A study in the journal PLoS One notes that eating a banana before a long bicycle ride helps performance and endurance just as much as a carbohydrate drinks. While most people are not cycling each day, bananas may still provide energy.
As a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry notes, strawberries are a good source of minerals, vitamin C, and folates. They also contain phenols, which are essential antioxidants that may help the body create energy at the cellular level.
People can add strawberries to many dishes, and a handful may also be an easy snack to add to a diet.
Yogurt may also be a source of energy. As the USDA show, natural yogurt is rich in protein, fats, and simple carbohydrates, which provide energy to the body.
Yogurt is also very easy to eat on the go, which makes it a great alternative to vending machine food.
Eggs provide the body with plenty of protein and nutrients for sustainable energy. As the USDA note, one large hard-boiled egg contains about 6 grams (g) of protein and 5 g of fat, as well as vitamins and minerals to help keep the body energized and feeling full for longer than other snacks.
Dark leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens are nutrient dense and contain filling proteins, as well as nutrients and antioxidants.
Greens may be difficult to digest raw for some people, so breaking them down by cooking them with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice may help.
Dark chocolate may be an easy way to increase energy. Rich, dark chocolate usually has much less sugar than milk chocolate. Less sugar means less immediate energy, but more cocoa content means more of the benefits of cocoa, including helpful antioxidants such as flavonoids.
A study in the journal Archives of the Turkish Society of Cardiology notes that dark chocolate may benefit the cardiovascular system by helping more blood pump around the body. This blood carries fresh oxygen, which may also make a person feel more awake and alert.
Popcorn is rich in carbohydrates. However, it also contains fiber to help slow the digestion. Popcorn may make a person feel full for longer than other carbohydrates.
As a study in Nutrition Journal notes, people who ate popcorn rather than potato chips felt fuller from the snack. This may be helpful for dieters, as popcorn usually contains fewer calories than potato chips.
Whether roasted soybeans or young edamame beans in the pod, soybeans contain protein with a wide variety of amino acids, as well as magnesium and potassium, according to the USDA.
Many nuts contain a blend of protein, fats, and some carbohydrates to provide energy throughout the day. Nuts are typically also rich sources of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, or phosphorous.
Nuts are usually high in essential fatty acids. As a study in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition notes, these fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, which may also reduce fatigue.
Nuts are high in calories, as well, so people should be careful not to eat too many
Peanut butter is typically rich in protein, fats, and fiber, and may help a person feel full for longer after eating it. This may cut the need for constant snacking, which may also leave a person feeling drain as their body has to digest continuously.
Coffee is a recognizable energy booster. The caffeine in coffee makes the body and minds feel alert and may make people more productive.
Coffee also contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which may reduce oxidative stress in the cells and help the body function well.
Coffee is a stimulant, however, so people should consume it in moderation. Too much coffee may lead to energy loss as the body withdraws from the caffeine.