best foods for energy including bananas and peanut butter

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10 best foods for energy

By Andrea Childs

May 23, 2022

High energy

Swap quick-fix sugar and too much caffeine for foods that deliver sustained energy to keep you going throughout the day. These healthy options deliver a potent combo of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals to power you up when you need it and are potent natural ways to boost energy with food. Want some more inspiration? You could also take a look at our blog, Food to Keep you Going When Life Gets Busy.

 

1 Nourish Drinks

Our Nourish Drinks are designed to give you a targeted nutrition boost for when your body needs more but wants less. Each drink contains the calories, protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs when you’re not able to eat much, or when you require extra nourishment, containing all you need from a meal alternative, in a delicious natural drink.

If you don’t want to miss out on your caffeine fix but want to soften the energy burst it brings, you can add a shot of espresso to our Vanilla Nourish Drink for an upgrade on your usual shop-bought cappuccino.

 

2. Oats

Oats are rich in fibre and a great source of slow-release carbohydrate for long-lasting energy. And for extra boosting benefits, they’re a source of B vitamins which help your body metabolise energy for fuel.

You can enrich your everyday breakfast oats by adding your favourite Nourish Drink to your morning porridge, for an energy-boosting way to start the day.

 

3. Eggs

That thin shell contains a nutritional powerhouse – eggs are a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids we need to source from our diet, as well as valuable vitamins and minerals.

Protein is more satiating than either carbohydrates or fat, and studies have shown that a breakfast containing eggs keeps you feeling fuller and more energised than a carb-based breakfast containing the equivalent number of calories.

Try our Kedgeree recipe or Nourish Mousse recipe, enriched with our Nourish Drink for extra goodness.

 

4. Chickpeas

Chickpeas contain the energy trio of carbohydrates, protein and fat, so you’ll get a powerful energy supply that’s released slowly in the body. 

Up the energy quota even further by blending the chickpeas into Lemon Hummus, with olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Or try our protein-rich Broad Bean & Pistachio Hummus as a tasty alternative.

 

5. Bananas

If you’ve seen tennis players eating these mid-game at Wimbledon, this is why… Bananas are a complex carb that also contain B vitamins, fibre and even a little protein, to promote long-lasting energy. They’re also rich in potassium, which helps in muscle function (making them great for a pre-workout snack).

We love to blend half a frozen banana into one of our Nourish Drinks for a further energy upgrade. You could also whizz up our Instant Banana Ice Cream or, if you want to try something different, take a look at our recipe for Curried Squash, Aubergine & Banana Soup.

 

6. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes really are a power package. Their gorgeous orange colour comes from antioxidants that help protect from inflammation and cell damage that may lead to cancer. They’re also rich in other vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and B6, plus potassium, magnesium and iron. They’re a complex carb and rich in fibre, so the energy they contain is released slowly in the body for prolonged effect.

For a sweet potato dish that’s a real showstopper and works as a side dish or a main meal, check out our Vegan Spiral Sweet Potato Bake recipe.

 

 7. Greek yoghurt

Don’t be tempted to choose low fat! Not only are low-fat options generally bulked up with extra sugar and fillers, they also miss the satiating quality of the intrinsic fat found in this powerful dairy food. Yoghurt contains the milk sugar lactose, which the body can easily access for energy. But because it’s also rich in protein, the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream, giving a gentler energy boost.

This Strawberry Yoghurt Fool recipe also contains energy-rich berries for added get up and go.

 

8. Lentils

These inexpensive store cupboard staples are a great source of protein and fibre to provide sustained energy. We love them cooked into a comforting daal, with added vegetables and warming spices to ease digestion. Or try our Carrot, Beetroot, Red Lentil & Quinoa Soup.


9. Brown rice

I’m a huge fan of the nutty, chewy texture of brown rice, although it can take some getting used to if you usually eat processed white rice. While white is definitely moreish, it can be energy sapping – the fibre-rich brown husk is removed from the grain, so the body absorbs the carbs in white rice more quickly. That can lead to an energy surge, followed by a crash as our body releases insulin to try to remove glucose from the bloodstream – discover more about how the body accesses fuel in how food gives us energy.

In brown rice, and other wholegrains, the grain remains intact, and the additional fibre and nutrients provide our body with a more sustained  energy source.

 

10. Peanut butter

I love crunchy peanut butter spread on to slices of crunchy apple or pear for a protein-rich, indulgent-tasting snack. Peanuts are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and energy-boosting B vitamins. They’re also low on the glycaemic index, which means the energy the provide is sustained for longer. Just some of the reasons I’m nuts about peanut butter.

 

And there’s more…

Other great energy boosting and balancing foods include seeds, beans, berries and dark chocolate – see my chocolate trick for another surprising health benefit.

 

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

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