Diet & Nutrition

Here are 6 energy-boosting food alternatives to coffee

A registered dietitian gives her best advice to beating the afternoon slump without reaching for another cup of coffee.

For many people a warm, energy-boosting cup of coffee is the very first thing they'll consume in the morning and for some, they'll turn to it multiple times a day for a much desired pick-me-up.
And while there's been plenty of research suggesting coffee has a host of benefits, it would be nice to feel like you didn't have to rely on a caffeine fix to make you feel like a normal functioning person, right?
In a new video as part of Well + Good's You Verses Food series, registered dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman shares the best way to eat to stay energised and six energy-boosting foods – with not a cup of coffee in sight.
For consistent energy levels throughout the day (read: no post coffee crash in the afternoon), Tracy suggests eating foods that have a low glycemic index (this helps to regulate your blood sugar levels) and are high in fibre.
"Wholegrains, high fibre veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, plus nuts and heart healthy oils," she says.
Wouldn't it be nice to feel like you don't have to rely on caffeine to make you feel like a normal functioning person? (Image: Getty)
Another crucial way to maintain energy levels is to stay hydrated.
You probably don't need us to tell you how important water is to help our bodies function, but according to Tracy dehydration has a huge impact on our energy levels. So just take this as your friendly reminder to stay hydrated.
While Tracy says there's of course no need to swear off caffeine, she does suggest keeping your consumption to a minimum, as too much caffeine can make you become immune to its stimulating effects. She says ever so often, if you feel like you need caffeine, try switching out your coffee for green tea or matcha.
"Green tea releases caffeine more steadily throughout the day leaving you less jittery and preventing a coffee deprivation crash," she explains.
So, looking for some healthy foods to boost that energy? Here's Tracey's top picks for foods that'll provide keep that pep in your step.


"They're packed with protein, which provides a steady source of energy, because it doesn't cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin," says Tracy.
They also contain B vitamins which helps your body break down food for energy, and because eggs are a complete protein, they are the perfect food to consume to replenish your energy when you're feeling sluggish.
Tracy says there's also fat-burning bonus of eating eggs, as the food can even increase the breakdown of fat to produce energy.
(Image: Getty)


You're probably already well aware that spinach is high in iron, and if you guessed that this nutrient is linked to your energy levels, you're correct.
"Iron is an essential nutrient for the maintenance of red blood cells. When iron is available to replenish red blood cells you feel more alert and energised," says Tracy.
"Hot tip: Cook your spinach and it'll increase the amount of bioavailable iron for absorption."


The perfect snack to eat before a workout, bananas are a great source of high quality carbs, potassium and B6 – which are all natural energy boosters, Tracy says.
While bananas are high in sugar, it's all natural along with natural fibre.
"They're an optimal, easy, cheap and convenient choice for gaining a quick burst of energy, while reducing the likeliness of a sugar crash, when compared to foods containing a ton of added or refined sugars."

Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon is a great source of protein, fatty acids and B vitamins and the omega-3s in fish are found to reduce inflammation and fatigue Tracy explains.
(Image: Getty)

Brown rice

Tracy says brown rice is high in fibre content and low in the above-mentioned glycemic index, so it helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your energy consistent throughout the day.
Other complex carbs that are the perfect energy boosters include quinoa, beans, farro and oats.

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is super rich in protein, in fact three time more than regular yoghurt which means you'll feel fuller for longer.
It's also high in, you guessed it, B vitamins, which as you may have gathered is one of the key vitamins for giving you a good boost of energy.