Learn more about foods that give you natural energy plus a yummy green smoothie recipe to help keep you powering through your busy day!
If you go into any grocery or convenience store, you'll see shelves and refrigerator cases lined with rows and rows of energy drinks. Caffeine is what gets us out of bed in the morning and keeps us humming along through our busy schedules. But that kind of “energy” can come at a price. It's hard to beat that burst of natural energy that comes from getting an amazing night's sleep or from eating nutrition-packed whole foods. I'm here to tell ya that relying on coffee, energy drinks, or supplements might help you in the short term, but in the long run it's worth ditching that habit and replacing it with foods that give you natural energy. Keep reading to find out more!
Now I know coffee and tea are natural foods. There are supplements out there the capitalize on adding natural ingredients like guarana, green tea, green coffee extract, and other plant-sourced forms of quick energy. Sometimes that also means loads of refined sugars too. These concentrated “natural” energy boosters should be used with caution. No judgment here, I promise. I like an Americano in the afternoon myself, but my hope for myself and for you is to get to the bottom of why you need that extra energy to begin with. Staying up too late or not sleeping at night? Piling too much on your shoulders at work? Whatever it is, the key is start with habits that can be modified to lessen the reliance on supplements.
For real, lasting energy, you need protein, fiber, and complex carbs. Consuming plant-based, whole foods is for sure the way to go. After snacking on simple carbs (i.e. white flour, and refined sugar), and loading up on caffeine, we may receive a temporary energy or mood boost, but it doesn't last. Inevitably, we are setting ourselves up for the dreaded post-snack slump. You know what I'm talking about – that “energy” and good mood fades into an afternoon filled with yawning, eyelids that need propping up, and a body that just wants to park itself horizontally on a couch. (And maybe a grumpy attitude too.)
When I started ditching my daily Americano in favor of a green smoothie, boy did I feel a huge difference. I didn't realize how much I had been relying on coffee to get me through the day. Green smoothies are one of the best way to consume foods that give you natural energy. The list below probably won't surprise you.
Foods That Give You Natural Energy
- chia seeds
- coffee (in moderation!)
- almonds and other nuts
- brown rice
- beans + lentils
- pumpkin seeds
- goji berries
- green tea
- yerba mate
- coconut – water, butter, oil, flesh
- hemp seeds and oil
- flaxseeds and oil
Some of the above foods like yerba mate, green tea, and coffee do have caffeine or other naturally occurring stimulants. If used in moderation and in combination with whole foods like you'd get in our Natural Energy Green Smoothie, it can help give you the natural boost without the slump. We're trying to get away from relying solely on concentrated caffeine.
This Natural Energy Green Smoothie combines kale with green tea, bananas and blueberries (fiber rich, naturally sweet, slower digesting carbs for sustained energy), coconut or MCT oil for quick digesting fats (i.e. quick energy), ginger, chia seeds (protein and more healthy fats!), and lemon juice.
This smoothie is a great meal replacement or pre-workout green smoothie. And if you're not a fan of green tea, you can substitute it with coconut water or plain water.
Natural Energy Green Smoothie
This gorgeous purple "green" smoothie is made with super healthy ingredients to help the body heal from inflammation.
- 2 cups baby kale
- 2 cups green tea brewed and chilled
- 2 medium bananas fresh or frozen
- 1 cup blueberries frozen
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil or MCT oil
- 1 tbsp. ginger root grated
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh
Place kale and green tea into a blender. Puree until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and blend again.
- Green tea can be substituted with coconut or plain water, if desired.
- Coconut oil or MCT oil can be replaced with 1/2 large avocado
- Other berries or fruit can be substituted for the blueberries