High-energy foods: 10 of the best

edamame beans on a plate
(Image credit: Unknown)

Energy, it’s an essential component in our daily lives, without it any task from walking to lifting weights becomes all the more arduous. It’s not easy getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, so you need to feed your body with enough energy to get  through the day, and replenish it after a workout to ensure you don’t fall asleep at your desk.

At one time or another, we've all been on the way to the gym feeling as though we simply don’t have the energy to complete our workout, and often the first thing people turn to for a boost is a sugary energy drink. If you want sustained energy, which you should, that's a mistake. The primary role of your diet is to provide the body with enough energy-boosting nutrients to deal with whatever the day throws at you, but far too often people look for a quick fix and consume instant energy boosters packed with refined sugars that encourage fat storage and cause energy spikes.

Ditch the quick fixes and inject your diet with some of these natural, healthy foods to keep your energy levels high and your body fat low.


Fruits such as kiwi, cantaloupe, bananas and apricots are particularly high in potassium (an electrolyte that's integral to maintaining normal muscle and nerve function), fibre, ready-to-use sugars, fructose for liver glycogen and a ton of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Fruit provides a healthy natural energy boost, perfect for consumption an hour or so before training.


Quinoa is a gluten-free grain packed with protein – more so than any other rice or grain. It’s a great replacement for refined carbohydrates and wheat as it helps to support a healthy cardiovascular system, bowel health and blood pressure levels. It's high in magnesium, folate manganese and phosphorus making it a nutrient packed source of carbohydrates for long lasting energy levels.


We're talking proper oats here, not the processed rubbish in things such as Ready Brek. Oats are a quality source of complex carbs, high in fibre and energy-boosting B-vitamins and are low on the glycemic index. They aren’t broken down as quickly as instant oats, so it takes far longer for them to be processed within the body, providing a slower release of energy. have a bowl mid0-morning and you'll be supercharged in time for a lunchtime training session.

Omega-3 eggs

These are actually slightly different from your normal eggs. They haven't been injected with fish oil or anything, instead the chickens that lay them are fed an omega-3 rich diet. They're full of healthy fats, energy boosting B-vitamins and are a rich source of vitamin D. They're not a quick pick me up, rather they're something to have and feel energised throughout the day.

Goji berries

Goji berries can be eaten whole or added to smoothies (in which case they're more easily assimilated into the body). These energy-boosting berries have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as a way of increasing energy and enhancing the release of hormones. They're also beneficial for increasing blood flow, which in turn helps to oxygenate cells while giving the body the ability to handle stress and (apparently) increase the libido. Nice.


Soy beans found in edamame are high in energising nutrients, particularly B-vitamins, phosphorous and copper. B-complex vitamins work to break down carbohydrates that we consume into glucose for fuel. At the same time they help transport oxygen around the body. Both copper and phosphorous are involved in converting food into energy and making ti readily available for your cells to use.


A small round fruit that can often be found in beverages and natural energy supplements, their energy boosting benefits come from the seeds, which are a rich source of caffeine containing around 2.5 times the amount found in coffee.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, fibre and healthy fats. They are also rich in magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, which provide additional energy support, key for those in training. Try toasting some in a dry pan and adding to a salad for a taste explosion that's also a great training aid.

Cold-water fatty fish

Try mackerel, salmon and herring to get your fishy fix. All excellent source of omega-3s, they're also high in B-vitamins and are one of the few food sources that contain vitamin D. They're also great to cook with, lending themselves well to a variety of tasty, nutritional meals.


While certain teas such as green, oolong, white and black do contain caffeine they also contain the calming amino acid theanine, which has been proven to prevent the anxiety that large consumptions of caffeine can cause. Promoting a better attention span and better focus alongside your energy kick.

Coach Staff

Coach is a health and fitness title. This byline is used for posting sponsored content, book extracts and the like. It is also used as a placeholder for articles published a long time ago when the original author is unclear. You can find out more about this publication and find the contact details of the editorial team on the About Us page.