5 Best Energy Foods

By Rachel Merkhofer

Next time your energy drops, skip the caffeine.
You’re better off grabbing fruit, nuts, or beans, says Steven Pratt, M.D., coauthor ofSuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale, 2008). These foods boost energy more effectively because they contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that combat inflammation, support your immune system, and help you recover faster from exercise, explains Pratt.

Snack on citrus fruits: They’re rich in vitamin C, a powerful nutrient that can have an antioxidant effect 20 minutes after you eat it, explains Pratt. If you prefer juice, choose one with pulp for more fiber, he says.

Dark Honey
Replace the white sugar in your tea with a dark honey like buckwheat honey, which your body processes more slowly, says Pratt. (The darker the honey, the more nutrients it has, he adds.)

Eat a quarter cup of beans such as pinto or black beans (cooked any style, just don’t add too much salt) for a low-calorie source of slow, steady energy.

Trail Mix
Make a trail mix out of your favorite nuts and seeds (like walnuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, and pumpkin and sesame seeds), raisins, and a little bit of dark chocolate. Include as much or as little of each ingredient as you like (they’re all healthy), but eat just one handful of the mix—you’ll get sustained energy without too many calories, says Pratt.

Berry Juice
Mix 4 oz. of dark berry juice—like grape, pomegranate, cherry, blueberry, açai, or black currant—with 4 oz. of water. (Diluting the juice helps keep sugar levels down.) Look for a brand with a low sugar content.