Some days, we can go from healthy to hello, double cheeseburger with the bait of a well-timed Instagram. Some days, our brain says salmon but our stomach says ice cream sundae. Every damn day, we’re looking for something to eat that will wipe out our afternoon slump and make us feel like we can finally catch up on our afternoon To Do list. Stock up on the ingredients ahead, and you’ll ride that energy wave all through the evening.
Get a natural energy lift with this assertive herb. “In your salads, on your berries, in your water — anywhere you add it, mint will give you a boost,” say Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, The Nutrition Twins. “Much of the flavor when you eat comes from what you smell, and the smell of peppermint activates the trigeminal nerve, which stimulates the area of the brain responsible for arousal and can make you more alert.” Also worth noting: Mint’s anti-inflammatory antioxidant rosmarinic acid helps calm your inside as it gently eases indigestion.
Consider this popular dip your energizing BFF: “This dip contains protein, fiber, and fat — all essential to boosting and maintaining your steam throughout the day,” says celebrity nutritionist Lisa DeFazio, author ofThe Women’s Health Big Book of Smoothies and Soups. The fiber and protein combo is a serious win for your bod: It helps stabilize your blood sugar as it increases your energy. Try it as a dip for veggies or as a condiment to top your next sandwich.
“This brightly colored root vegetable is packed with antioxidants — like vitamin C and manganese — that help to fight off free radicals and inflammation,” says Jennifer Christman, corporate dietitian at Medifast. “Eating beets may help with energy levels because their natural nitrates convert to nitric oxide, which can increase oxygen delivery to the body.” Translation: enhanced energy levels that may even spill over to an improved athletic performance at the gym.
This potent powder can power you through your next workout or stave off a crash at work: “It contains the blood-sugar stabilizing combination of protein and fiber (more stable blood sugar means more stable mood),” says Annie Kay, lead nutritionist at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. “Hemp is also rich in anti-inflammatory and mood-enhancing omega 3 fatty acids.” (Neat fact: Research suggests that populations that take in more omega-3s display lower rates of depression.)
“As a rich source of B vitamins and iron, the nutrients in spinach help convert food into energy,” explains Erin Palinski-Wade, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. “This leafy green is also packed full of antioxidants like vitamin C, which can help to reduce the stress hormones that can leave you feeling fatigued.”
“These are a satisfying snack that won’t break the calorie bank — plus, they taste like a mini sorbet,” says Mitzi Dulan, author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin and team nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals. “Three-quarters of a cup of red, green, or black frozen grapes has only 90 calories of energy-providing carbohydrates. They’re also a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols, and provide lots of hydration, since they are about 82 percent water.” No peeling, no coring, no prep.