These 10 Foods Wreck Your Energy Levels & These 10 Boost Them

These 10 Foods Wreck Your Energy Levels & These 10 Boost Them

Life is hard enough without the added stress of fatigue. Better sleep and proper stress-reduction techniques certainly help, but so can your diet! Let’s take a closer look at which foods lay waste to your energy levels and which can keep you alert.

1. Sugary Cereals

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of cereal in the morning? Though some brands start the day right, sugary varieties do more harm than good—a spike in blood sugar leads to an inevitable crash that leaves you hungry and lethargic.

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2. Energy Drinks

They promise energy boosts, but it’s hard to do that when they’re loaded with sugar and caffeine. Though that power duo provides a temporary boost, you’ll feel the crash later when you’re exhausted. Not only that, but overconsumption can also lead to dependency. 

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3. White Bread

You’ll find refined flour in a lot more than white bread—pancakes, rice, and even some cereals are all prime examples of what to avoid. These foods lack the fiber you need to last throughout the day; they also slow digestion, which leaves you hungry and leads to energy crashes. 

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4. Soda

Energy drinks aren’t the only beverages laden with sugar and caffeine. Soda is a popular energy refresher that is simultaneously responsible for huge crashes. It can also interfere with your sleep schedule, leading to long-term fatigue.

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5. Pastries

Pastries like donuts, cakes, and danishes are refined carb havens. They’re loaded with sugar, which affects blood sugar levels, and leads to inevitable crashes. You might feel that blessed energy boost at first, but the downfall isn’t worth it.

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6. Alcohol

Alcohol comes with a classic sedative effect, making it harder to stay energized. While that’s bad enough, it also loves to disrupt your sleep cycle—overconsumption, among other things, leads to poor-quality sleep that affects your energy levels throughout the day. 

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7. Fried Foods

Have you ever ripped into a bucket of chicken only to pass out soon afterward? That’s because fried foods have all kinds of unhealthy fats, which not only take longer to digest but also lack important nutrients to keep you energized. 

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8. Processed Meats

Sausage, bacon, deli meats—those mouth-watering goodies may taste great, but they’re loaded with sodium and unhealthy fats. What this means for you is slower digestion, lethargy, and lack of essential nutrients, all of which wreak havoc on energy levels. Unfortunately, the same goes for processed snacks, too. 

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9. Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is a breakfast staple and while that glass of OJ might brighten your morning, it won’t exactly keep you energized. With so much sugar and practically no fiber, common fruit juices cause blood sugar spikes followed by pretty gnarly crashes. 

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10. Coffee

Depending on how you drink it, coffee is either your best friend or your worst enemy. If you stick to an appropriate amount without a ton of added sugar or cream, you’ll score a healthy energy boost…but overconsumption can actually lead to energy crashes, especially if you load up on sugar.

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The good news is that plenty of foods boost, and maintain energy levels.


1. Oatmeal

The name of the game is complex, not refined carbohydrates, which is exactly what you get with oatmeal. Reach for a bowl in the morning for a healthy dose of fiber and nutrients, both of which encourage more energy. 

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2. Eggs

Eggs: versatile, delicious, and a great source of energy. Start the day right with protein, essential amino acids, and B vitamins to ensure you don’t fall asleep at your desk. They’re also low-calorie!

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3. Sweet Potatoes

Complex carbohydrates are everywhere if you know where to look, and sweet potatoes are a good place to start Also high in antioxidants and fiber, this veggie provides a slow, steady energy boost without the fear of a crash. 

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4. Bananas

From natural sugars, fiber, and potassium, bananas come with all sorts of benefits to keep you energized. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about cholesterol or fat, meaning you can nab a quick boost guilt-free.

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5. Quinoa

You either love or hate quinoa, but nay-sayers may be interested to know that it’s great for long-lasting energy. With essential amino acids and a high fiber content, quinoa keeps spirits high throughout the day without a nasty crash.

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6. Almonds

Almonds tick off just about every box: high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, you can enjoy a balanced energy boost right in the morning. Mix a handful in with your oatmeal or eat a few solo to reap the benefits.  

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7. Berries

Berries are so much more than a healthy, delicious snack—classics like raspberries and strawberries can provide long-lasting energy boosts. The reason why is that most are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

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8. Leafy Greens

The next time you make a smoothie, toss in a handful of leafy greens! Filled with iron and potassium, these impactful veggies come with all sorts of vitamins and minerals to help combat fatigue. If you need a place to start, look into spinach, collard greens, bok choy, or kale. 

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9. Beets

Beets have antioxidants and fiber, but they also come with something special—nitrates. Not only do nitrates improve energy levels and stamina, but people also turn to beetroot juice to help maintain long-lasting energy. 

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10. Greek Yogurt

Great news for parfait lovers—Greek yogurt is loaded with protein and probiotics, helping you maintain energy levels! It also does wonders for gut health and is the perfect blank canvas for yummy add-ons like fruit or granola.

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