All food gives energy, but some food gives more energy than others. Food from processed sources that is full of sugar and fats can give short-term energy, spiking insulin levels and decreasing blood glucose levels, which is followed by the onset of hunger. But if you choose the right foods, you can provide your body with long-term energy that can help you power through workouts and replenish energy post-workout.
Try these five natural energizing power foods in your diet plan!
Most of us forget about fruit when we diet because of the sugar content, but there are lots of benefits in fruit that shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to providing energy, especially bananas. This yellow fruit is loaded with minerals including potassium, which can help reload lost electrolytes and glycogen— stored carbohydrates— post-workout. One medium banana provides only 105 calories, 27 grams of energizing carbs, 3.1 grams of fiber and only 14 grams of sugar. It also delivers 17 percent of your daily vitamin C content, 20 percent of your vitamin B6 content and 450 milligrams of your daily value of potassium!
Energizing Tip: Instead of frozen berries, add half a frozen banana to your post-workout protein smoothie to help replenish lost nutrients including carbs.
Tired of oatmeal? Try quinoa instead. Quinoa is a great gluten-free grain that delivers more than just carbohydrates. Quinoa is also high in protein, providing all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth. Just a half cup of quinoa provides about 55 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein! In addition to protein, this superfood also delivers a good source of natural fats, including 5 grams of fat from both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated sources. Quinoa is also high in iron, delivering 21 percent of your daily value, 41 percent of your daily value of magnesium and 20 percent of your daily value of vitamin B6.
Energizing Tip: Cook up a pot of quinoa and use it in place of oatmeal for breakfast! Quinoa can be eaten on its own by adding a few berries and nuts to make a hot cereal option, or it can be used as a great replacement for oatmeal in a protein pancake. Quinoa can also be eaten as a side dish, or added to salad and eaten cold to boost energy and protein content.
Consume just the egg whites and you will be missing out on the yolks, which deliver a rich source of energizing B vitamins. These vitamins help the body convert the food we eat into useable energy. Whole eggs also pack protein, and are considered one of the most bioavailable sources of protein, meaning that this protein delivers all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Lastly, whole eggs deliver a source of saturated fat, and although you might think that’s a bad thing, a little is important to help regulate your hormone levels. One whole egg provides 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat.
Energizing Tip: Mix one whole egg with about a one-forth cup of egg whites to make an energizing omelet by adding veggies, spinach or kale.
These deep red root veggies are probably not on your radar as an energizing food, but beets are actually a source of two nutrients that can boost workout power! Beets are high in nitrates and can increase nitric oxide production in the body. Why is that important? Nitric oxide increases blood flow, which can increase nutrient delivery to working muscles. Beets are also high in betaine, which has been shown to increase endurance and power in athletes. Betaine is also a methylator, which can reduce estrogen toxicity in the body, helping restore and maintain a healthy balance. A single cup of beets can provide 13 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber and 11 percent of your daily value of vitamin C.
Energizing Tip: Not sure how to eat or prepare a beet? Roast beets in the oven, then add them to salads, or eat them alongside other greens as a side dish.
Coconut oil delivers a source of fats that are unlike other sources of fat. Coconut oil provides medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are easily metabolized by the body, and have been shown to help preserve lean muscle tissue and enhance protein metabolism and fat oxidation. This can help preserve glycogen storage, while helping reduce appetite. Coconut oil provides 14 grams of fat per serving.
Energizing Tip: Instead of using olive oil or a non-natural cooking spray, try cooking with coconut oil instead.