7 Foods That Wake You Up Better Than Coffee
Here’s what happens when you skip the caffeine and instead go for naturally energizing meals.
There are some days you just can’t stop yawning, even after a full night’s rest. But coffee may not solve the problem, and it could actually make things worse, especially if you’re adding a bunch of fake sweetener to stay within the recommended sugar intake. Sure you’ll feel energized for a while, but you’re going to pay for it later when the high wears off. Plus, unhealthy eating habits contribute to fatigue, so if you’re grabbing a pastry when you stop for Starbucks or skipping breakfast entirely, you’ve set yourself up to feel foggy all day. Click through to see the best energy-boosting foods to start your day.
It turns out a classic bowl of oats is still one of the best things you can eat early in the morning. It’s an energy powerhouse thanks to its low-glycemic index—a measure of how quickly the body absorbs carbohydrates and turns them into fuel. Oatmeal is slow burning, so it’ll keep you running all morning without causing you to crash and burn in a couple of hours like sugary coffee drinks can.
Try It: Fruit + Spice Cut Oatmeal
Yup, plain old water first thing can help you wake up faster. Even mild dehydration can make you feel like your brain is in a fog because your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out normal functions. In fact, most of us are slightly dehydrated early in the morning, so loading up on liquids will make a difference. If you find yourself nodding off at your desk mid-afternoon, a trip to the water cooler might be in order, not a visit to the office vending machine.
Try It: Carry a reusable water bottle with you so it’s easy to stay hydrated.
There’s no scientific data on why ACV can give you a pick-me-up, but a shot of the tart stuff mixed with water and honey every morning is a folk remedy that many people swear by. It’s said to give you a burst of energy, clear the head, and generally contribute to overall good health. Maybe it’s just an old wives’ tale, but if it makes you feel good, there’s no reason not to drink it—just don’t over do it as the acid can irritate your throat and digestive tract.
Try It: Down one of these ACV Homemade Energy Drinks every morning to put a spring in your step.
Chia seeds are rich in brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, which can help ward off fatigue and make you feel more alert. But chia’s benefits don’t stop there: Those tiny seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, which can speed up digestion (thus converting food to energy) while keeping you hydrated and awake.
Try It: Add some to smoothie recipes to give your morning a boost.
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Eating lots of fresh-picked organic greens is one of the best ways to up your energy levels, says Kathy Stricker, a naturopath and certified nutritional consultant in Reading, Pennsylvania. They contain a lot of B vitamins, which help the body convert food to energy.
Try It: Toss together a Garden Salad For Breakfast to start your day. Stricker also recommends a nutritious green smoothie.
Researchers have found that the scent of peppermint increases alertness and decreases fatigue.
Try It: Wake up with a steaming mug of peppermint tea instead of your regular coffee, or try popping a piece of peppermint gum when the 3 p.m. slump hits.
You may have heard rumors that eggs are bad for you, but that’s simply not the case, says Stricker. In fact, they’re one of her top picks for breakfast because the yolk has lots of protein, which gives you sustained energy all day.
Try it: Poached, hard-boiled, fried, or scrambled—however you like ‘em is fair game. We recommend Grilled Asparagus With Fried Eggs + Sage for when you’re feeling fancy.