Do you wake up not feeling well rested?
Are you someone that needs multiples coffees to get you through the morning? Have energy drinks made their way into your routine? How about that 4 p.m. crash when you start searching for sweets and refined grains?
Resorting to processed foods with added sugar for energy will only make us feel worse. Natural whole foods can provide us with the boost we need to keep us feeling light and energized… without the crash.
Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and foods high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants flood our body with nutrients that help counteract fatigue and sustain us throughout the day.
Take a peek at my favorite foods for a burst of natural energy!
Avocados are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that give our body energy that will last for hours. They contain lots of fiber, keeping our blood sugar stable so we can avoid those sugar highs, followed by the lows.
Try adding avocado to your morning fruit plate, throw it into a smoothie for a delicious creamy consistency, or pair your eggs with sliced avocado for an extra boost.
Even minor dehydration can cause you to wake up not feeling your best.
It’s important to pack your diet with high water-containing foods (think fruits and veggies), and watermelon is one of our best sources. This yummy fruit is 90 percent water, provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and houses the amino acid L-citrulline, which may help reduce muscle soreness.
Start your day with a bowl full of watermelon for the ultimate hydration and a burst of energy.
Almonds are a great source of high-quality protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re packed with B vitamins which help your body convert food into energy, and are rich in magnesium which helps fight muscle fatigue.
Add almonds into your morning granola or grab a handful as a mid-morning snack.
Kale is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that we need for energy.
It’s a great plant-based source of iron which carries oxygen to our tissues and cells which is needed for us to thrive. Kale is also a wonderful source of calcium, folate, and B vitamins.
Throw this cruciferous veggie into your morning green juice or smoothie, or add it to an omelet and skip that second cup of coffee!
5. Bee pollen
A natural superfood, bee pollen can significantly enhance energy and physical endurance.
It’s high in B vitamins, amino acids, and an antioxidant called rutin that’s key in supporting healthy blood vessels, improving circulation, and fighting inflammation.
Add bee pollen as a topping to your morning smoothie bowl for extra energy.
Bananas are your go-to fuel when on the run. This potassium-packed fruit includes a good amount of fiber, which slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, and provides a great source of magnesium and B vitamins.
Add banana to your coconut parfait breakfast or grab a whole banana as an easy snack on the go.
A ripe banana will provide more readily available energy in the form of sugar, compared to an unripe banana. They should be freckled and yellow rather than green. That’s how you know the starch has converted into sugar you can properly digest and use for energy.
Spinach is a great source of vitamin C, folate, and iron. Adequate amounts of these vitamins and minerals are essential for energy production. Lower levels of iron in particular can cause major fatigue.
Pair your morning eggs with sauteed spinach, and add a squeeze of lemon juice to enhance iron absorption.
In addition to their amazing sweet flavor, dates are easily digested by the body and provide an instant boost of energy. They’re a great source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
Add chopped dates to your morning fruit plate, throw a couple into your smoothie for extra sweetness, or dip them into almond butter for a yummy snack.
9. Chia seeds
Small but mighty, these guys are a great source of energy. Chia seeds soak up fluids and can expand to as much as 10 times their size in the stomach after being digested. This helps you feel full for longer periods of time.
They’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, protein, fat, and fiber.
Experiment with chia pudding or sprinkle chia seeds onto your next smoothie.
One egg contains high-quality protein and healthy fats, which in combination keeps us satiated and offers sustained energy throughout the day.
Eggs are a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, choline, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12.
Don’t forget to always eat the whole egg! The yolk is the most nutritious part, containing the majority of the egg’s vitamins and minerals and a good amount of the total protein. If you’re worried about cholesterol, don’t be. Research has shown that cholesterol coming from food isn’t correlated with cholesterol in blood.
The bottom line?
It’s time to stop fighting the endless battle with chronic fatigue by reaching for caffeine and sweets.
Packing your diet with healthy whole foods and making small changes to what you fuel your body with throughout the morning can make major differences in stabilizing blood sugar and improving energy levels.
Try incorporating these foods into your morning routine to fight fatigue and feel energized all day long.
Additional research, writing, and editing contributed by Chelsey Fein.
Nathalie is a registered dietitian and functional medicine nutritionist with a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and a MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She’s the founder of Nutrition by Nathalie LLC, a private nutrition practice in New York City focusing on health and wellness using an integrative approach, and All Good Eats, a social media health and wellness brand. When she isn’t working with her clients or on media projects, you can find her traveling with her husband and their mini-Aussie, Brady.