By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
I think we’re all looking for more energy, right? But the problem is we are used to trying to find it in the wrong places. We guzzle coffee and other caffeinated beverages, but they only offer a quick jolt that won’t last throughout the day.
The best way to get energy is actually in the food we eat. This summer, let’s try to change the paradigm and aim to get more energy from the food and less from the stimulating beverages we all love. To help guide you, I’ve selected a few of my favorite naturally energizing foods and a few recipes for you to try.
Avocados are a power food chock-full of healthy fats as well as electrolytes magnesium and potassium (both help to promote healthy muscle function and hydration). Avocados are also anti-inflammatory and help to promote balanced and healthy blood sugar, which is great for helping you stay fueled for your many summer activities.
Try this Raw Avocado Slaw
Citrus fruits are loaded with water, which helps to promote energy because they’re hydrating, but also because they’re a rich source of vitamin C, which is helpful in promoting iron absorption.
Try this Sunrise Citrus Juice
Watermelon is the perfect summer food because it’s light, hydrating and so yummy. Watermelon is often overlooked and thought of as too sweet, but it’s actually a good source of electrolytes magnesium and potassium, which are key for fluid balance and overall hydration during hot summer months. Watermelon also contains lycopene, which has been found to be helpful in preventing sun damage. Have watermelon as a snack on its own or as part of a salad or entrée.
Try this Sweet Carrot Watermelon Juice
Leafy greens are a personal favorite of mine, for so many reasons. Spinach, for example, may help to lower body temperature due to high water content and also contains potassium and magnesium, both hydrating and energizing for muscles. Green leafy veggies are also a source of iron that can help to energize too.
Try this Arugula Strawberry Avocado Salad
Cucumbers are another favorite energizing veggie because they are mostly water and naturally hydrating. They are also very versatile so you can enjoy their benefits in many different meals.
Try this Refreshing Cucumber Salad
Hot peppers are super energizing because they help to rev up your metabolism, and in the process may also make you sweat a little (not bad for making us also feel detoxified, right?). If you’re feeling brave, add them to your next juice recipe!
Try Hot Palate Pleasing Pepper Juice
This superfood is immune-boosting, loaded with energizing B-vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Just make sure you don’t start with a heaping teaspoon; instead add just a few granules and you’ll be set to go.
Try this Nutty Breakfast Quinoa Bowl
Tomatoes are loaded with energizing potassium that’s also hydrating, and as a plus, they contain carotenoids and lycopene that can naturally help your body protect itself from the sun from the inside out.
Try this Slow-Roasted Balsamic Tomato Recipe
Sweet potatoes are a source of healthy starch that is easily digestible but also contains fiber that promotes healthy digestion. The fiber and the starch in the sweet potatoes help to promote energy but also help to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. Sweet potatoes also contain carotenoids that help the skin to naturally prevent sunburn and sun damage.
Try this Loaded Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe