9 Foods to Boost Your Mood and Energy Without Caffeine

Here it is again. The mid-afternoon slump has hit, and the thought of finishing the next few hours of work—without falling asleep at your desk—seems like an impossible task. Even more daunting is knowing that the end to your work day is the start to what is, often, just the beginning of a busy, tiring evening. Whether running kids from activity to activity, walking the dog, or catching up on some long-overdue errands, you are tired even before you get started. What do many do to conquer this dreadful mid-day slump? Yes, we reach for caffeine for an instant pick-me up, only to find that the very short relief is soon followed by a crash. Reach for another cup of coffee, or sugary soda, and you find yourself tossing and turning all night, leaving you tired and feeling even worse the next day.

If this cycle has gone on too long, you are likely at a point of living with fatigue every day and may even be to the point of adrenal fatigue. Your body is breaking down, and you are likely well aware. You know you feel terrible. You know you are tired all the time. Do you find yourself catching every small cold you in the office? Do you find yourself extra irritable or emotional? If so, that is no surprise. Fatigue breaks us down physically, emotionally and even mentally, and can cause havoc on our immune system.

Turning to caffeine or sugar-filled snacks (perhaps both!) will give you only a temporary boost, and it will do nothing helpful for your body in the long run. What it will do is leave you soon to face another energy low, more tired than before, and still stuck in this harmful cycle. The best way to beat the mid-day slump is to nourish your body with the right foods to fuel it with the energy it needs to help you get through the day.

Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein and are thought to be what many call a “complete protein,” as it contains nine amino acids essential to our body. Eggs also contain iron, the lack of which can lead to decreased energy, and B-vitamins which play an important role in converting the food we eat into energy. Whether you want to a fluffy scrambled egg, a delicious omelet, or boiled eggs as an afternoon snack, this versatile protein is a terrific and tasty food to help boost your energy and power through the day.

Nuts

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews are an excellent snack to keep near you to overcome the mid-day slump, or whenever you need a quick boost. Nuts provide the body with a slow-releasing, durable form of energy, along with healthy fat to help you feel fuller longer to avoid mindless snacking. They contain vitamins A, B and E, calcium, potassium and magnesium, the latter of which plays a significant role in converting sugar into energy.

Bananas

Bananas are a great choice for fueling your body with a natural energy source. Bananas contain a combination of important vitamins, minerals and amino acids that, similar to nuts, provide a more sustained, steady release energy. In fact, pairing a banana with nuts, or a nut butter, is a great afternoon snack to avoid the mid-day slump and avoid hitting the vending machine.

Goji Berries

These very tiny, dried up berries may not look like much, but they are actually one of the healthiest superfoods packed with a high level of antioxidants. They have long been used as part of Chinese medicine to help increase energy levels and improve the release of hormones which helps support a healthier mind, mood and memory. While I enjoy putting Goji Berries on my salad, there are many ways to eat these tasty berries to give you the boost you need.

Kale

Kale is undoubtedly one of the best vegetables to fuel your body. These leafy greens deliver a terrific energy-boosting mix of essential minerals such as potassium, copper, iron and phosphorus. Kale is also filled with vitamins like Vitamin A, B6, K, magnesium and many more. Kale can be steamed or eaten raw; however, most claim that steamed kale offers more benefits than eating it raw.

Raw Cacao

Believe it or not, chocolate made the list! Out of all whole foods, raw cacao has been said to contain the highest level of antioxidants. It is also a great source of magnesium, iron and chromium. If you find you need for something sweet, it is certainly okay to enjoy one or two squares of an organic, dark chocolate bar, but be sure to opt for at least 70 percent raw cacao to ensure you are reaping the maximum health and energy benefits. Moderation is key, of course, but go ahead and enjoy this occasional treat.

Maca Powder

Maca has been used to increase energy levels for years, dating as far back as the 16th century. Maca is a nutritional powerhouse containing 19 essential amino acids, as well as a long list of many other vitamins and nutrients. Many individuals trying maca for the first time report increased energy within only a few days. This powerful energy booster is most commonly found in powder form which is most commonly mixed in with smoothies, juices or puddings.

Ginger Tea

If you are a habitual afternoon coffee drinker, instead try grabbing a ginger tea. The caffeine in coffee can lead to an evening crash and restlessness at night, causing you to lose valuable sleep your body so desperately needs. On the contrary, ginger tea is filled with nutrients and antioxidants that offer a similar afternoon boost but without the negative effects of caffeine. Add a slice of lemon, and it is an excellent alternative to coffee.

Coconut

Coconut oil is lately one of the most talked about healthy fats. This nutritious energy source largely consists of medium chain fatty acids, an important fat our body uses to produce energy. Unlike caffeine, coconut provides a natural boost of energy to help increase your energy level and metabolism throughout the day. Supplementing your daily diet with coconut oil is a terrific way to combat fatigue overall and get rid of your afternoon energy dips once and for all.

Alison R-Pickett

Alison Richardson-Pickett is a writer, health enthusiast, mother, wife and litigation paralegal. With a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Public Administration, Alison has been able to help others live a better, healthier life in both her years of writing, legal work and volunteer service. Alison believes that living a healthy lifestyle is far more than just losing weight, but rather about living the best life we can by taking control of our food choices to feel better, prevent disease, and have the energy you need to get the most out of life.

Alison R-Pickett

About Alison R-Pickett

Alison Richardson-Pickett is a writer, health enthusiast, mother, wife and litigation paralegal. With a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Public Administration, Alison has been able to help others live a better, healthier life in both her years of writing, legal work and volunteer service. Alison believes that living a healthy lifestyle is far more than just losing weight, but rather about living the best life we can by taking control of our food choices to feel better, prevent disease, and have the energy you need to get the most out of life.

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