Getting up and running first thing in the morning can be a struggle if you're not rolling out of bed following a solid eight hours of sleep. Luckily, there are foods you can eat in the morning for energy that can help you get your day going and keep you sustained throughout your afternoon. Reaching for a cup of coffee is a great quick fix, but if you're someone who is sensitive to caffeine, a cup of joe is often not the best idea.
Though you may not get as crazy of a jolt as coffee, certain foods are known for working to keep us energized so we can better focus and feel stable throughout our day. "Eating the right balance of foods is what can truly make a difference in keeping you energized until lunchtime," Kate Kanner, RD tells Bustle over email. "Sure, caffeine helps to perk you up, but it is no substitute for the mix of nutrients that a balanced breakfast provides."
Keeping your glucose levels steady will help prevent a rise and fall in blood sugar during your day, so it's important to maintain a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber to keep your energy levels constant. Next time you need a little kick in the butt before beginning your day, try eating these seven foods that can help give you a steady stream of energy throughout the day.
"Eggs have gotten a bad reputation in the past, but in my opinion they're one of the most nutritionally perfect foods," says Kanner. "Eggs are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats (including omega-3 fats), and they are rich in selenium and iodine." A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who ate two eggs in the morning had much more sustained energy than those who ate a bagel.
"Whole rolled oats or steel cut oats contain protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates, which is the winning combination for long-lasting energy in the morning," says Kanner. She also makes a point to note that all oats aren't created equal. "Oatmeal packets are quick and easy, but they usually contain lots of extra sugar, which can cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop, leaving you low on energy."
3. Greek Yogurt
"Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is much higher in protein, and a solid dose of protein at breakfast is crucial for long-lasting energy," says Kanner. Yogurt also contains probiotics, and studies have found that adding probiotics to your diet can increase energy and improve your immune system.
"Avocado is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats as well as fiber, both of which are slowly digested," says Kanner. "This will keep you feeling fuller for longer as well as helping to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the morning." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating a diet high in monounsaturated fats can give you more energy than a diet richer in saturated fats, so go ahead and eat that avocado toast instead of drinking your morning cappuccino.
5. Nut Butters
"Nut butters contain that winning combo of protein, healthy fats, and fiber," says Kanner. "I buy a natural peanut butter that contains only peanuts, and no sugar, oils, or other additives." A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that nuts increase energy as well as satiety, making you less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack during your afternoon slump.
You can eat all the foods you want, but without adequate liquids, you'll never feel your best. "Dehydration leads to fatigue and can be avoided with hydrating with water," says Beth Warren, RD. Studies from the Research Institute of Environmental Medicine found that even the mildest dehydration can cause fatigue, so make sure you load up on that H20 first thing in the morning.
7. Coconut Oil
"Coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fat, which means that it is converted into energy quickly and efficiently instead of being stored," says Warren. Studies have found that these types of fatty acids, compared to regular saturated fats, can increase your energy by 5 percent in a 24-hour period.
See, who needs coffee to get that extra boost?