What Foods Give You Energy? How to Change Your Diet to Feel Invigorated

Forming healthy dietary habits is core to any successful eating plan, with the goal of boosting overall energy levels throughout the day. But exactly what food can you choose to obtain that welcome boost?

Below are some foods to incorporate into your diet for more energy. People may consider consulting their healthcare provider before making any changes to their diet.

Complex carbs like oatmeal

"In general, carbohydrates are digested and metabolized for energy faster than protein or fat, so this can be important to have energy for exercise," Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, chair of the Department of Nutrition and director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Newsweek.

Complex carbs such as oatmeal are made of more sugar molecules than simple carbs and take longer to digest, so they can provide a more steady supply of energy throughout the day.

Oatmeal is therefore a good high-energy food due the fact that it releases energy slowly, so that morning bowl can keep you going for hours.

oatmeal
A stock image shows a bowl of oatmeal, which is a good source of complex carbs. Getty Images

Eggs

The energy benefits of this common breakfast food lie partly in it containing B vitamins, which help convert food into energy, Lauren Popeck, a registered dietitian at Orlando Health, wrote on the organization's website. Soybeans are also a source of B-complex vitamins.

Quinoa

People can also try eating quinoa to help their energy levels. Ginger Hultin, a registered dietitian nutritionist, told Newsweek: "Quinoa is a high fiber whole grain that contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants."

Dark chocolate

For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate can be a good energy booster as it contains the stimulant caffeine and also "has a rich mineral content including iron, magnesium, and zinc which are all important for optimal systems in the body," said Hultin.

dark chocolate
A stock image showing chunks of dark chocolate, which could help to boost energy. Getty Images

Bananas

Bananas are often cited as a good, quick energy snack. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance and muscle contractions, and are also sources of fiber and B-vitamins.

Avocados

A well-rounded fruit that contains fats and fiber, avocados make fat-soluble nutrients more available in the body and may help sustain energy levels throughout the day. "Avocados do not contain much protein," said Hultin. "I would just highlight their fat and fiber content. Fat is rich in calories which can help boost up energy levels."

avocado toast
A stock image showing a woman eating avocado toast. Avocados may be able to help maintain energy levels. Getty Images

Water

Although not technically a food, water may be a key energy-booster. Essential for carrying nutrients to cells while removing waste products, water is constantly lost through urine, sweat, and breathing. Being low on fluids can cause weakness and tiredness, so making sure you are hydrated can make a big difference in how you feel.

Remember to eat a balanced diet

While some foods certainly are more associated with energy than others, there is no such thing as a magic food, Mayer-Davis told Newsweek.

"Energy metabolism, so the energy you feel, is a function of many biological processes, minute to minute throughout the day," she said. "There are no magic foods."

Mayer-Davis said that for day-to-day energy, a diet including whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein especially fish, and healthy fats like olive oil can help.

"Be sure to consume a wide variety of foods, and be sure to consume only the amount of food that you need to enjoy a healthy weight," she said.

Update, 4:50 a.m. ET, 1/19/22: This article has been updated with comments from Ginger Hultin.

Person eating food
A stock image shows a person eating a bowl of food. Some foods have a higher energy content than others. Getty