Do you feel tired more often, lack the energy to perform specific tasks, or find yourself searching for a chocolate bar or a cup of coffee when the clock hits 3 pm? If so, your body needs to be fueled — perhaps it’s time to fill your diet with plant-based, vegan foods that will act as natural energy boosters to fight exhaustion and amplify energy levels.
Remember, different vegan foods have different energy levels with different qualities. So, whether you’re intaking them for an instant kick of energy to help you perform with a higher intensity in a workout or simply using them to maintain soaring energy levels throughout the day, it is important to consider the purpose of your meals when choosing the best vegan foods for energy.
Keep reading to learn about the finest vegan options that will boost energy naturally, suit your lifestyle, and keep you on the go every day!
What Vegan Foods Give You The Most Energy?
There’s nothing more cost-effective and simple than nourishing your body with plants — it provides you with the required nutrition while making your body stronger in the long run.
Below, we’ll be listing the best vegan foods for energy to help you maintain a balanced diet and healthy eating habits.
- Cacao: Contains energy-boosting nutrients, such as magnesium, iron, chromium, and antioxidants, that give you long-lasting energy and maintain your blood sugar levels. You can sprinkle some cacao powder into a smoothie, garnish your oatmeal, or simply use it as a dessert.
- Spinach: The high levels of magnesium, iron, and vitamin B help strengthen your muscles and prevent their breakdown. To include supergreens in your diet, use it in pasta, salads, soups, or sandwiches.
- Lentils: They have great amounts of fiber, minerals, and protein that help you feel energized and satiated. They are quick to cook, can be used as a substitute for beef in “meat” sauce, and are a famous ingredient in many Indian dishes such as curry and daal.
- Quinoa: Loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and protein, Quinoa is a versatile grain with a unique taste. You can use it as an alternative to rice or sprinkle it over salads.
- Vitamin C Rich Fruits: Consume citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, kiwis), strawberries, bell peppers, and tomatoes for your daily dose of vitamin C. They will protect your cells and enhance tissue growth, repair, and development.
- Sweet Potato: The high amount of fiber and carbohydrates make sweet potatoes a great option for high-energy meals. Simply bake them in the oven, mash them, or eat them as fries.
- Kiwis: Being rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, zinc, and folic acid, kiwis support heart health, immunity, and digestive health. They can be used in several recipes, both savory and sweet.
- Dates: Contain at least six different vitamins which promote gut, bone, and brain health. Stuff them with almonds, cream cheese, or pistachios to create a delicious snack.
- Bananas: They are crammed with nutrients and can give you energy worth an hour's exercise. Consume them raw or pair them with low-digesting foods like peanut butter or nuts. According to a study, bananas can also keep you full for longer periods.
- Oats: A great source of iron, vitamin B, magnesium, and potassium, along with being easy to cook and lightweight, which makes them a top pick for high-energy granola bars, cookies, and vegan breakfasts.
- Brazil Nuts: Rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese, and copper, 1 to 3 roasted Brazil nuts are a great addition to your vegan diet.
- Flax Seeds: They are loaded with omega 6 and omega 3 fats, protein, fiber, and good carbohydrates. You can add them to Laddus, sandwiches, and cereal or even consume them as a mid-meal snack.
- Chickpeas: A good source of energy and protein to nourish your fatigued muscles. Toss them into a salad, spread them as a pizza topping, or blend them into a sauce.
How To Boost Energy Throughout The Day
While these natural energy boosters prepare you for heavy workouts, they are also amazing at helping you boost energy throughout the day, too.
Incorporating high-water-content vegan foods into your diet can provide extra hydration, vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. “Consuming fruit can be a sweet way to boost nutrition and help contribute to your body's overall fluid needs,” says Kara Lydon, RD. Fruits such as pineapples, watermelons, blueberries, apples, and peaches, while vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, and eggplant are great picks for staying hydrated through a plant-based diet.
Additionally, don’t forget to drink enough water (2.7 liters for a woman and 3.7 liters for a man). Try drinking warm water on an empty stomach in the morning, and remember not to drink water too soon or right after a meal. You can drink it 30 minutes before a meal and an hour after eating to prevent obstructing digestion. Try our cucumber water or blueberry orange detox water.
Protein Smoothies And Snacks
Protein shakes improve recovery and performance and promote muscle gain. They help you keep lean muscle, lower body fat, feel full, and lose weight. From chocolate protein shakes and peanut butter-banana protein shakes to oatmeal apple protein shakes and oatmeal-blueberry shakes, there are tons of options you can try out to boost energy naturally throughout the day.
To further enhance your diet, include high-energy vegan snacks like:
- Trail mix (made of walnuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried tart cherries).
- Roasted chickpeas
- Whole wheat pita with hummus
- Banana and peanut butter quesadilla
- Granola bars
Nuts And Nut Butter
Nut butters are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats that give long-lasting energy, aid digestion, and keep you feeling full and active. They come in various options, including peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter. Being a versatile ingredient, nut butter can be added to various recipes. For example, you can spread it over toast, blend it in a smoothie, use it as a chip dip, or just dig into it with a spoon at 2 am.
Much like nut butter, nuts are saturated with proteins and fibers. The best high-energy options include sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts. Combine them with hemp milk for a complete plant-based protein source.
How To Increase Energy Levels
The perfect way to increase energy levels is to introduce healthy changes to your lifestyle as a whole. Start by trying to spend more time in the fresh air — it could be a short stroll or a few minutes spent meditating. This makes your mind sharper and gives you more energy, as more oxygen leads to better brain functioning and improved focus and concentration. “While there is no magical ‘fresh-air cure,’ there are clearly both physical and emotional health benefits to spending more time outside in the fresh air,” Dr. Eric Morley.
Adding regular, light exercise to your daily routine can also help. Such habits boost endurance, improve muscle strength, and deliver nutrients and oxygen to your tissues more efficiently. As such, your heart and lung health improves, giving you more energy to tackle daily chores. Pair this with ample hours of sleep and watch your body feel a lot more active, fresh, and energetic in no time!
Let’s answer some remaining ambiguities regarding these natural energy boosters.
Why Am I So Tired As A Vegan?
The most common reason is that you might not be eating enough or have an imbalanced diet.
Since a vegan diet is lower in fats, calories, and proteins, you need to eat more to compensate for those losses. Contrarily, you can feel constantly tired because your protein or carbohydrate intake might be lower than required. This can be if you consume too many light foods like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, or fruits.
To avoid such issues, consider branching out your diet to include more food options and curate balanced meals.
Now that you’re familiar with the best vegan foods for energy, it's time to include them in your diet to boost energy naturally and get rid of the dreaded 3 pm slump where your energy dwindles and attention spans fall low.