Like everything in life, caffeine is fine in moderation — but tell that to your espresso-craving brain when you’re dragging on a Monday and it’s telling you it’s time to make a third trip to Starbucks. If you’re a caffeine addict who’s relying solely on coffee to keep her energy up, it might be time to make a change.
But whether you’re just looking to reduce your latte consumption or trying to give up cold-brew cold-turkey, it’s going to be rough getting through the day if you don’t have something else to give you that energy boost. Here’s a list of healthy food options that will keep you going all day long, without the java jitters.
1. Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, walnuts… pretty much any nut makes a good energy-boosting snack. They’re a great source of healthy fats and proteins, a combination that balances blood sugar levels and prevents the kind of crash you’d get after an energy spike from caffeine.
2. Avocados: You’ve probably heard a lot about how avocados are a good source of “healthy” fats, but what does that mean, exactly? Basically, the monosaturated fats in avocados are used for energy, instead of being stored in your body. And avocados are also full of B vitamins, a natural energy-level increaser. As if you needed more reasons to add new pictures of avocado toast to your Pinterest board.
3. Dates: If you’re tired and craving something sweet, reach for fruit instead of a mochaccino. Dates, in particular, are a great option, and their natural sugars are way different than the processed kind you’ll find in frothy-sweet caffeinated drinks (which are essentially liquid Hershey bars masquerading as coffee). Dates won’t give you the same sharp processed sugar spike in glucose levels that makes you crash later, and they’re also a great source of fiber.
4. Watermelon: Spit out the seeds, but keep all the energizing B vitamins. Watermelons are also pumped up with electrolytes that can help replenish and keep you going after a long day. It’s kind of like nature’s Gatorade.
5. Quinoa: When you need long-lasting energy, carbo-load responsibly with whole grain options. Quinoa is great because it’s a complex carb that boosts your serotonin levels to make you feel more alert and happy, and it’s also an amazing source of protein, vitamins and essential amino acids. But don’t get too carb-crazy — too many carbs, even if they’re whole grain, can trigger an extra surge of serotonin that will just make you more sleepy.
6. Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can elevate your mood and even help with depression. Omega-3s are definitely what you need to stay motivated to attack the day, along with all of salmon’s protein, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin, all things which help your body convert the food you eat into energy. Give a girl some fish, and she’ll have more energy for the afternoon; teach a girl to replace an afternoon caffeine buzz with omega-3s, and she’ll have more energy every day.
7. Popcorn: As long as it’s not drowning in butter and salt, popcorn is an awesome energizing snack because it’s high in fiber and whole grain carbohydrates, but low in calories. Basically, it’s poppin’, in every sense of the word.
8. Gum: Chewing gum increases your heart rate, which means increased blood flow to your brain and stimulation of the autonomic nervous system, making you more alert. Minty gum can also stimulate your nerve fibers in the same way as a splash of cold water to the face. Just make sure the piece you pop is sugar-free so you don’t risk a sugar crash — sorry to burst your Bubblelicious bubble.
Did any of these tips help you feel more awake? Tweet us @BritandCo!