Are you always feeling a little tired and wondering what to eat to recharge your batteries? Let me stop you right there, as you’re reaching for the energy drink we both know is terrible for your health. Instead, check out the energy-boosting foods that you should eat when you’re feeling tired. These healthy foods are good for you, light and hydrating, with slow carbohydrates that won’t skyrocket your blood sugar, and will be kind to your digestion.
If you want to search for other food ideas for more energy on your own, look for foods that are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, iron, vitamins D, and B12.
Tiredness vs Fatigue: The Important Difference
Before we get into the list of energy-boosting foods, let’s learn to differentiate between tiredness and fatigue. The first happens to everyone from time to time, due to various things, including lack of sleep and proper rest and bad food choices. In most cases, this can easily be fixed with a good nap!
Fatigue, on the other hand, is when things get overwhelming and no nap can fix the mental and physical drain you’re facing.
If your tiredness is becoming an everyday thing, you may need to visit your doctor and check your biomarkers, including the levels of your vitamin B12 and B9, iron, glucose and hemoglobin, C-reactive protein, and thyroid-stimulating hormone. But if you’re just feeling low from time to time, maybe some of the energy-boosting foods I’m about to suggest can be enough to help.
I know it’s not a food. But it’s the fountain of youth! So, the first one of the foods and drinks to have when tired is water. Because, without proper hydration, your body won’t be anywhere near its peak performance. Alongside that, drinking enough water daily will keep your normal temperature, cushion your joints, protect your spinal cord, and help get rid of the unhealthy things you don’t want in your body (source).
Fresh Raw Fruit
To make up for the lack of taste in water, let me mention some of the tastiest energy-boosting foods to eat when tired – fresh fruit. They are amazing sources of minerals and vitamins, helping your body feel energized. Just make sure you’re not going the easy way and drinking juices, as they’re very high in sugar and stripped of vital nutrients.
Instead, have whole fresh fruits like blueberries, oranges, strawberries, watermelon, peaches, bananas or apples.
Fresh Raw Vegetables
Daily you should have around 3-4 cups of vegetables to maintain a healthy diet. Apart from that, you can also turn to veggies when you feel your powers going down. Since they’re packed with nutrients, and some even have protein, fresh vegetables are perfect energy-boosting foods that you just need to wash, sometimes peel, and then crunch away!
You can use peppers, carrots, broccoli, avocados, spinach, kale, cabbage and many more to make your meals more versatile and nutritious.
I bet you’ve heard the myth that chocolate is one of the perfect foods to eat when tired. Sounds great, but questionable in factualness. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy dark chocolate from time to time, but the regular sweet treat is high in sugar and saturated fat which can give you short energy bursts and plenty of calories to regret. However, cacao, the main ingredient, is a different story.
Cacao offers iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. It has some caffeine, though much lower than coffee, but contains a natural stimulant called theobromine (source). Similarly to caffeine, this can also give you a mental and physical energy boost but it is likely to be milder and last longer.
Oats, the mighty breakfast ingredient, also count as one of the energy-boosting foods to eat when tired. They are great not only for your morning but to eat throughout the day when you need something to bring back your liveliness.
You may wonder what makes oats so great, aren’t they just another grain after all? They are, dare I say, one of the best grains.
Oats lower cholesterol, have antidiabetic effects, promote immunomodulation, improve gut microbiota, and facilitate the prevention of atherosclerosis, and dermatitis (source). They offer slowly absorbed energy as well as magnesium and phosphorus.
Chia seeds have no concept of personal space and love drinking water. That’s the best way to describe these tiny seeds. What makes them a great energy-boosting food is the fact that they’re extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provide sustainable energy and many health benefits. Enjoying a healthy chia pudding can help your body regain its vitality to function better.
These brain-shaped nuts might even be better than almonds and even pistachios (source).
Walnuts are a source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and might have anti-inflammatory effects. This makes them the perfect brain food, suitable also for when you need a boost throughout your day. They’re not only great to eat when you’re tired, but they’re also great for heart health, and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
I bet most people think “coffee” when it comes to healthy foods for more energy. Caffeine, however, should be minded, and having more than 400 mg per day isn’t advisable. The reason for this is that it only helps for episodic situations that require your alertness (source). Unlike the fruits, vegetables, and nuts mentioned so far, caffeine doesn’t give you that many long-term health benefits.
If you still want a drink that will raise your energy, go for green tea. Just like coffee, it has caffeine but in combination with L-theanine which doesn’t increase your anxiety levels. Be sure to avoid bottled green tea, though, as it contains many additives. Brew your own and consume it however you like, warm or cold.
Beans will regulate your blood sugar and help you feel full because they have both fiber and protein. This legume is packed with slow-digesting carbohydrates that will not only give you a push but sustain it for the rest of the day.
In case these aren’t your favorite energy-boosting foods to eat when tired, you can turn to other legumes like lentils and chickpeas as well, they will work fine too.
Yogurt has plenty of protein, helping you feel satiated for a longer time. It also contains calcium and probiotics. Here’s a super special trick for using it to spark your energy – combine it with other foods from the list. That’s right, you can make a sweet combination by adding fruit and nuts. You can even have it with veggies.
Both tuna and salmon count as some of the best foods to eat when tired. They are perfect because they’re naturally high in omega-3’s. Whether you’re trying to find a momentary solution for your lack of energy, or you’re fighting chronic fatigue, this type of fatty acids will be your best friend.
So, I noted how crucial B12 is if you’re feeling fatigued. This vitamin is closely connected to reduced energy levels and weakness. The easiest way to be sure you’re getting enough B12? Enjoying eggs! A single hard-boiled egg, mostly its yolk, contains over 20% of your daily intake of this energy-related vitamin (source).
Eggs are also a great food to eat when tired because they have plenty of protein, and vitamins D, B2, and B6, which are all crucial for the energy production of our bodies. So small but so great, right?
More Healthy Foods To Eat
I hope this list of energy-boosting foods helps you find some inspiration for your grocery list this week! For more healthy options, check out the articles below:
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 scallion, thinly chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- handful basil, chopped
- 3 tbsp chopped olives
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Wash and chop the tomatoes, basil, scallions and cucumber. Thinly chop the pitted olives.
- Add all to a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt, and if desired - a little bit of lime or lemon juice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 253mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g