2. Sweet Potato
High in carbohydrates and loaded with beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C, these will help fight off midday fatigue. Bonus: Kids will love this sweet treat at mealtime. Try them mashed or cut into strips, tossed with a little oil and and baked for a healthier alternative to french fries.
Because they are composed mostly of sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and fiber, bananas are a foolproof energy food. Top them with peanut or almond butter for a well-rounded snack, or slice one into your morning cereal for an extra boost that will keep you going until lunchtime.
Not only will an apple a day keep the doctor away, it'll also give you a powerful jolt of energy. High in fiber, apples take longer to digest, so they'll give you a more prolonged lift than many other fruit picks. Snack on apples with cheese for an especially effective pick-me-up.
An excellent source of iron, a key component of energy production in the body. Eat a spinach salad for lunch and you probably won't experience that afternoon energy slump.
6. High proteins
Protein is an essential energy food—particularly when you're trying to drop a few pounds. If you are, replace part of your regular carbohydrate intake with proteins; this will help ensure that your muscle mass remains constant as your body metabolizes fat cells as a source of energy.
Containing the highest complete form of protein in any food (a whopping 97% of it can be absorbed by your body!), eggs provide 30% of your daily value of protein. All of the essential amino acids that your body uses to rebuild muscle can also be found in eggs. Whether you eat them boiled, scrambled, baked, fried or as an omelet, don't overlook the power of the incredible egg.
8. When you need a quick pick-me-up, a little caffeine can go a long way. “Shown to be effective for improving exercise performance, a cup of coffee might serve as the perfect pre-workout beverage,” Moskovitz says. “Adding skim milk not only offers plenty of calcium and vitamin D for stronger bones, but it also provides carbohydrates for fuel.”
9. Soy beans
Are high in energizing nutrients, particularly B-vitamins, copper and phosphorous. “B-complex vitamins work to break down carbohydrates we consume into glucose for fuel. At the same time they help transport oxygen throughout the body. Both copper and phosphorous are involved in converting eaten food into energy and releasing into cells so its available for use by the body. Edamame also delivers exercise-friendly carbs, fiber and protein for muscles. Just 1 cup of shelled soy beans packs in over 8g of filling fiber and 17g of protein,” Moskovitz says.
10. Nuts and dried fruit
Are the ideal combination of healthy fats, fiber and protein. While refined carbs that are void of fiber quickly break down into glucose for short bursts of energy, fiber helps slow down glucose-release so there is always a steady supply. Similar to fiber, protein also slows down metabolism of carbs and repairs muscle damage to prevent post-training soreness. Fats such as nuts, seeds and oils are notorious for providing long-lasting energy particularly for longer runs or swims over an hour. Since carbs are the first macronutrient to get used during activity, they can become easily depleted at which point the body relies on energy from fat,” Moskovitz says.