10 absolute best foods to boost your energy

These plant-based, nutrient-rich foods will increase your energy without causing you to crash and burn out

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As a plant-loving culinary nutritionist, I am often asked by my active vegetarian clients, how they can maintain enough energy to get through their days and their workouts. My answer is always the same: plant-based foods.

Not only are plant-based foods filled with the most nutrition (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and bio-available vitamins and minerals, but they are essential in maintaining optimal energy.

Here are my top 10 sources of energy foods:

1. Hemp seeds
They contain omega-3 fats and provide long sustaining energy. I love to put them on salads, in smoothies and in cereal.

2. Chia seeds
They’re loaded with fibre and bulk up when soaked. Chia makes the most delicious morning porridge – amazing for a pre-workout breakfast.

3. Kale
Kale is a powerhouse green leafy veggie. It’s loaded with magnesium and is alkaline-forming. Chopped up in a raw salad or steamed as a side dish with quinoa, kale completes any plate.

4. Sea vegetables
These vegetables store a wide range of trace minerals and nutrients. In addition, they provide natural sodium to the diet. My favourite sea vegetable is arame or nori. It gives me mental clarity and focus.

5. Tempeh
It’s fermented, easy to digest, delicious and one of the highest sources of plant protein. I love marinating tempeh with cider vinegar, lemon juice and coconut oil for a boost to my salads and wraps.

6. Coconut water and coconut oil
Coconut water replenishes the body with much-needed electrolytes. When I am working out, this is my go to beverage. Coconut oil is loaded with medium chain fats, so it is a quick source of energy and nourishment before and after activity.

7. Quinoa
These nutritious seeds contains all of the essential amino acids, the building blocks for protein. As protein builds muscle, it is important to consume protein especially after a workout.

8. Goji berries
They’re a natural source of antioxidants, protein and fibre. They are perfect in a trail mix before a workout or great tossed in a smoothie after a workout.

9. Cacao
It is one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium. It gives a natural boost of energy – the perfect excuse to have chocolate for breakfast. Tossed in a smoothie or a cereal it adds the perfect crunch and kick!

10. Honey
Honey is soothing and easy to absorb, is loaded with enzymes and antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It’s a natural source of sugar and calories, so it makes a perfect addition to my pre-workout snack and it also gives me that extra boost of energy.

The foods in the list above are the ones I reach for when I want to get moving. I know that my body is going to absorb them well and use them efficiently. These plant-based, nutrient-rich foods will give me that boost of energy without causing me to crash and burn out. They are sustaining, nourishing and versatile enough that I can consume them daily in multiple ways.

Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.