Eating for Energy: Foods to Enjoy and Foods to Avoid How many times have you felt great all morning, only to crash right after lunch? Make no mistake; the foods you’re choosing at lunch are having a direct effect on your energy level. Stop hindering your afternoon performance with your lunchtime choices, and give yourself the boost you need to finish off the day.

Energy-Boosting Foods

Eggs. The B-vitamins are known to boost energy—and egg yolks pack a ton of them. Eggs are also high in protein, which can help keep you moving. Hard-boil a few to have on hand for a quick snack, or dice them up and toss them into a salad.

Spinach. Iron can be key to combatting fatigue, and nearly 10 percent of women are deficient. Spinach is a great source of iron and is the perfect leafy green for a lunchtime salad. Other great plant sources of iron include beans, lentils and sesame seeds.

Quinoa. This gluten-free grain gives you a boost of folate, magnesium, phosphorous and manganese. It’s an excellent grain to use instead of energy-depleting refined carbohydrates. Quinoa can be a perfect side, a great base for a main dish or an excellent addition to a salad.

Pumpkin seeds. Protein-packed, pumpkin seeds also offer a ton of manganese and magnesium, which are known for their energy-boosting qualities. These are great to munch on for an afternoon snack; look for a bulk section at your local health food store, and mix up your own trail mix.

Brown rice. Another food full of manganese, the mineral that processes protein and carbs, which produces higher levels of energy. If making a big batch of rice isn’t your thing, check the frozen aisle at your grocery store, many now have some quick and easy packages.

Eating for Energy: Foods to Enjoy and Foods to Avoid

Energy-Zapping Foods

Bagels. These guys are deceiving; one bagel is equivalent to three or four slices of bread with a whooping average of 350 calories and 50-60 grams of carbohydrates. These carbs quickly turn into sugar, which will leave you with a noontime crash.

Specialty drinks. A fancy coffee drink from your local Starbucks might seem like a great choice for energy, but it’s actually counterintuitive. All the sugar and syrup actually drains your energy, instead of giving you the lift you need. If you need some afternoon caffeine, stick to black coffee or better yet, tea.

Sub sandwiches. Easy to grab, but not worth it; these sandwiches are heavy on refined carbs and also usually are made with processed lunchmeat, filled with icky additives like high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and other artificial ingredients.