20 Best Foods for All-Day Energy That Prevent An Afternoon Slump

Grab a snack instead of downing a third cup of coffee.

best foods for energy
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We've all been there. It's 3 pm and you're head is getting heavier, it takes effort to pull yourself out of your chair, and you're just not feeling motivated! Resist the urge to start chugging coffee or eating sugary snacks just because your defenses are down. While it's true that your body converts all food into energy, there are certain foods you can eat that will produce more energy than others. Although you may find yourself craving a bag of potato chips during your mid-afternoon slump, try to keep in mind that items high in fat and calories can leave you feeling fatigued because they require more energy to digest. Instead, fuel your body with these good-for-you foods all day long, whether you incorporate them into your meals or enjoy them on their own during snack time. They're high in the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need to feel awake, alert, and high-functioning all day long — and they taste great, too!

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foods that give you energy - roasted chickpeas
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Chickpeas

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are one of the best-for-you legumes out there. Packed with protein, fiber, and vitamin B9, chickpeas are great mid-afternoon snack that will give you the boost of energy you need to make it to the end of the day.

Try:
Biena Chickpea Snacks ($14 for a four-pack, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - steel cut oats
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Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats are made by passing the whole grain through — you guessed it — steel blades, which slices the oats into slivers. This method helps the oats retain more fiber and protein, which means a bowl of oatmeal made from steel cut oats will leave you feeling full and satisfied for long than a bowl of traditional oatmeal.

Try: Minsley Cooked Organic Steelcut Oatmeal ($17 for 12, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - tuna
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Tuna

Adding a scoop of tuna to your salad at lunch will give you the energy you need to power through the afternoon. Tuna is an excellent source B vitamins, which your body uses to convert food into energy, and a serving of tuna also contains almost 25 grams of protein, which will keep you awake and alert.

Try: StarKist Lunch To-Go, Chunk Light Tuna in Water ($17 for 5, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - avocado
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Avocado

Avocados keep you feeling energized for a few different reasons: for starters, they're full of healthy fats, which have been shown to enhance the way your body absorbs nutrients and can also be stored by your body to be used as energy sources. The fiber in avocados helps maintain steady energy levels. Avocados are also a great source of B vitamins, which your body uses to convert food into energy.

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Cottage Cheese

Because it's packed with vitamin B12, cottage cheese will give you the boost you need to power through your mid-afternoon slump. Snack on a scoop of cottage cheese with cantaloupe slices the next time you feel yourself fading and need a boost of energy.

Try: Hood Cottage Cheese with Pineapple ($1, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - edamame
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Edamame

You've probably had edamame — a.k.a. immature soybeans — as an appetizer, but there's a reason to make the protein-packed snack at home too: they're rich in phytoestrogens, which give you a whole lot of energy. For the tastiest prep method, simply boil them and sprinkle with sea salt.

Try: Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Wasabi Edamame ($3, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - quinoa
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Quinoa

Not a brown rice fan? Give quinoa a try. According to Lauri Boone, author of Powerful Plant-Based Superfoods, the magnesium-rich protein "relaxes blood vessels and muscles," getting rid of pent-up stress while providing you with lasting energy that will fuel you throughout the day.

Try: Kashi Crunchy 7 Grain with Quinoa Bars ($4, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - blueberries
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Blueberries

Blueberries aren't just a delicious — they're also full of fiber, which slowly delivers energy that will keep you revved up for hours after consuming them. Eat them plain or toss them on top of yogurt or oatmeal.

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foods that give you energy - brown rice
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Brown Rice

Since this grain is rich in manganese — the mineral that helps produce energy from protein and carbs — it will help you maintain high energy all day. Brown rice can be served as a side dish with your favorite lean proteins and nutrient-packed veggies for a filling lunch or dinner.

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foods that give you energy - sweet potatoes
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Sweet Potatoes

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 baked for a healthier alternative to french fries.

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foods that give you energy - honey
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Honey

A spoonful of honey is nature's equivalent of an energy drink. Low on the glycemic index, this natural sweetener acts as a time-released muscle fuel during exercise and helps replenish muscles post-workout. Add a sweet drizzle to anything from breakfast yogurt to afternoon tea.

Try: BEE HARMONY American Orange Blossom Honey ($12, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - apples
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Apples

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 other fruits. Snack on slices with cheese for an especially effective pick-me-up.

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foods that give you energy - bananas
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Bananas

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.

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foods that give you energy - spinach
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Spinach

This green is an excellent source of iron, which is 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.

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foods that give you energy - salmon
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Salmon

Salmon has been receiving a lot of hype lately for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. But this pink fish also contains protein, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin — all of which help convert the food you eat into energy. Top a spinach salad with salmon, or serve it with a side of brown rice and veggies.

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food that gives you energy - oranges
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Oranges

High in vitamin C, potassium, and folate, this citrus fruit rations out energy steadily over time instead of giving you a quick sugar rush. Peel and eat an orange to benefit from the pectin and fiber in the fruit's membranes.

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foods that give you energy - almonds
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Almonds

Packed with protein, manganese, copper, and riboflavin, almonds are a handy snack to keep at your desk or in your bag. Copper and manganese play an essential role in keeping energy flowing throughout the body by neutralizing toxins within cells. Riboflavin aids oxygen-based energy production.

Try: Blue Diamond Almonds Whole Natural Raw Almonds 100 Calorie On The Go Bags ($12 for 32, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - eggs
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Eggs

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. You can eat them boiled on top of some avocado toast, scrambled, baked, fried, or as an omelet.

Try: Pete & Gerry's Organic Hard Boiled Eggs ($7 for 6, Amazon)

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foods that give you energy - beans
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Beans

Both a protein and a complex carb, beans are a must for carnivores and vegetarians. Toss a cup into of a spinach salad or enjoy a bean burrito.

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foods that give you energy - yogurt
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Yogurt

With a rainbow of flavors to choose from, yogurt is a healthy breakfast or snack option when you're on the go. It contains magnesium, which is crucial for the release of energy, and will add a dose of calcium to your diet. Enjoy it post-workout to help replenish your glycogen sources.

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