Plant-Based Foods That’ll Give You More Energy

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Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug

Human tired. Human wants coffee. I’m all about coffee but you can only have so much before it starts to be counterproductive. Food is directly related to your energy levels so it’s natural that when you start dragging, you think what can I eat to fix this? Everyone is different which means there isn’t a set list that’s fail proof. Do a little investigative work on your part and see how your mind and body respond to what you eat. If you are soaring instead of snoring, consider it a keeper and add it to your grocery list.

Although tempting, try to skip reaching for the bag of candy or processed snacks. If foods are processed, most, if not all of the essential nutrients have been stripped. So you’re eating a bunch of additives and preservatives, which can rid your body of its vitamin and mineral reserves. Plant-based, nutrient-rich foods can increase your energy without the infamous crash and burn.


Olives

Olives were not on my radar until recently and now I’m a believer. Put them in salads, eat as a solo snack or add to boring recipes so they aren’t so boring anymore. A good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, iron, copper and calcium, olives are shown in studies to increase glutathione levels. Glutathione is an antioxidant your body produces that has been referred to as the mother of all antioxidants and the master detoxifier. Glutathione is essential to energy production so...I’ll stop there --enough said. If you like olives, eat them!


Kelp noodles

Signal the red flashing light and cue a loud exciting noise, because this is one of those products many people don’t know about that can be a game changer. Kelp noodles are thin gluten-free noodles that are made from kelp, a brown seaweed that is praised for it’s high iodine content. Iodine is a trace mineral and essential nutrient, that plays a key role in metabolism and the body's ability to burn carbohydrates and fats for energy. Usually I will add them to salads, but there’s a lot of different ways to incorporate them. Learn how to prepare and where else to use kelp noodles here.


Pineapples

Yeah, I’m one of those people who love pineapple on my [vegan] pizza. I’m all about pineapples, I find them to be one of the most energizing fruits and I eat them year round. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6, which helps to stabilize blood sugar and convert carbohydrates into energy. Work through the intimidation of cutting one up (where to begin?!) because once you cut a pineapple a few times (ok maybe like 10 times), it’s smooth sailing. If you like the taste of pineapple and enjoy cold-pressed juice, this pineapple juice from Ripe is liquid paradise.


Wild Rice

Low-carb diets feel like ancient history, thankfully. The important thing to remember when it comes to carbohydrates is that they are not all made equal. Refined carbs are basically empty calories that have a lot of negative consequences. Think soda, chips, cookies, cakes, and so on.

Good carbs provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. One of my favorite products with wild rice is this mix from Lundberg Family Farms. Nutty in flavor, wild rice is gluten-free, and has more protein than most whole grains; plus it’s rich in magnesium.

 
 

Lentils

Whenever I’m super active, my body craves lentils for an energy boost and it always works. Lentils are a legume and have an impressive amount of fiber and protein, so if you’re lacking energy, stock up! Add lentils to salads, soups or find a good lentil recipe. Take your pick, as there are 4 different kinds of lentils. Brown, red/yellow, green, and black lentils. All 4 taste slightly different and vary in cook times.


Cherries

So underrated! Cherries feel like they are only in season for about a minute so you can opt for frozen cherries --100% tart cherry juice or dried cherries. Cherries are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and go well in smoothies or as a snack. Considered a brain-boosting food, cherries are packed with antioxidants that help keep your mind sharp.


Amaranth

Bored of the usual grains? Amaranth is a way to turn ordinary meals into interesting ones. If you’re not familiar with amaranth, it’s a gluten-free grain, that has an earthy, nutty flavor. It’s a good source of B vitamins and fiber. Both nutrients are vital for a strong metabolism and to help you feel energetic. Amaranth is also a good source of protein and manganese as well, which helps keep you alert and focused. Use amaranth where you would usually use rice, oatmeal, or quinoa.


Sunflower Seed Butter

If you’re allergic to nuts or want to switch it up, sunflower seed butter is a must try. Sunflower seed butter is high in protein and loaded with healthy fats and vitamin E.

These vegan cacao sunflower squares made with sunflower butter, look like HEAVEN, and something to turn to when your energy levels are about to dip. Made with sunflower seed butter, raw cacao and coconut oil, they are organic, gluten-free and dairy-free.