Give your body and mind a boost with these delicious, all-natural energy foods
Life is busy. You’re tired. When you’re not at work, you’re working your way through the wash basket, getting the weekly shop in or changing the beds. With each and every hour accounted for, where, exactly, are you supposed to find the time to cook healthy foods that will keep you going and feeling full?
Few of us fail to succumb to the temptations of a sugary chocolate bar or caffeine-laden coffee when the post-lunch slump hits. But there is a healthier way to power your way through it. And there’s no need to spend your weekend slaving over a batch of homemade energy bars, we promise. Throw a handful of these healthy high-energy foods into your breakfast or lunchtime salad, or simply cram a couple in your handbag before you leave the house to forestall those chocolate cravings. Your mind, body and waistline will thank you for it.
Click through to discover the best foods to boost your energy and your health…
There's a reason almost every nutritionist you can think of recommends going to work on an egg. Eggs are packed with filling, energy-boosting protein, essential fats and B vitamins. A hard-boiled egg makes a great mid-morning snack, too.
Iron deficiency can cause fatigue, since we need an adequate supply to transport oxygen around the body efficiently. Lucky, then, that a single serving of mushrooms can pack up to 50% of your recommended daily intake! Why not have a handful with a scrambled egg and a slice of wholegrain toast for breakfast, or chow down on a bowl of mushroom soup for lunch?
Potassium-rich fruits (including bananas, apricots, melon, prunes and kiwi) are the handbag heroes of the snack world. The mood-boosting mineral helps the body to convert the energy from carbohydrates into muscle fuel. Chop one onto your porridge, or stash it in your bag to pre-empt the 11am munchies.
The brain uses omega 3 essential fatty acids to build new brain cells and stay alert. Cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, are packed with these brain-boosting fats.
Add a little fresh, flaked salmon to your lunchtime salad, or try our mackerel, rocket and potato salad recipe. The nutrients found in oily fish also help your body to absorb other nutrients more efficiently, enabling you to squeeze maximum energy from the rest of your lunch.
The energy from brown rice, wholewheat pasta and wholemeal bread is released slowly, making post-meal highs and crashes a thing of the past. Brown rice is also rich in manganese, which helps the body to convert food to fuel. Have a handful at lunch and you can look forward to a more productive afternoon.
Matcha tea is said to have the same energy-enhancing effects as coffee, without the caffeine comedown. It also boosts concentration, torches calories and has anti-cancer effects, according to its devotees.
Craving a sugar fix? A spoonful of nutrient-packed raw honey is a healthier alternative. Add a little to porridge or herbal tea.
There's a reason gym bunnies always claim to snack on a handful of mineral-rich nuts before a workout. Almonds, in particular, are packed with copper and manganese, which are capable of releasing stored energy, according to scientists. Try spreading an oat cake with a little almond butter and topping with half a sliced banana before you lace up your trainers.
We need water to transport energy-giving nutrients and oxygen to the brain and body. If you're not drinking enough, your dehydration may be masquerading as fatigue. Try to drink 1.5 litres a day (more if you're exercising).