Confession time: I have a serious coffee problem. As a compromise with myself, I have one small cup of coffee every day, and it takes a lot of restraint to keep to it. Lately I’ve been cheating BIG TIME because it’s cold press coffee season, and cold press—and the energy, focus and overall feeling of invincibility it gives me—is probably in the top 10 list of things I love most in this world.
But, I’ve realized it’s time to wean off the sauce and go back to my one-cup-a-day habit. At least by the time the summer’s over and I can no longer justify keeping gallons of cold press in the house. Coffee might not be all bad (it’s good for your skin, after all), but there are much healthier ways to get an energy boost (ones that won’t leave you feeling like a zombie when they wear off).
10 Natural Energy Boosters
There’s a self-care protocol I’ve seen where the first question is, “How much water have you had today?” Oftentimes when we’re sluggish (or hungry or crabby or headachy), we’re actually dehydrated, and a glass or two of ice-cold water will do the trick.
Dates include energy-boosting sugars that are counteracted with filling fiber, potassium and a little bit of protein. They’ll give you a little bit of a sugar rush without the crash.
3. Green Tea
Green tea still contains caffeine of course, but it also has a plethora of energy-, beauty- and immune-boosting antioxidants. Iced green tea can be mixed with sparkling water or a little juice to dilute the caffeine content if needed. Make sure to chase every mug of tea with a glass of water.
4. Fresh Air
Just stepping outside will give your lungs, eyes and skin a much-needed jolt—and a dose of vitamin D, which is essential to energy production. You may want to take a D supplement if you live in a colder or cloudy climate, but make sure you’re still getting outside regularly during the day if possible. And of course, make sure you’re getting enough sleep!
Even just smelling citrus increases serotonin. Lemon essential oil is noted as an energy booster, but you can also eat an orange or grapefruit to get the vitamin C and fiber, or add lime or lemon juice to your water to get the benefits.
Not only can peppermint settle your stomach, just the aroma of it can increase focus and alertness. Keep some peppermint essential oil by your desk, or treat yourself to a cup of peppermint tea in the afternoon.
Besides all the protein, healthy fats and fiber that nuts contain, they also help balance blood sugar. Keep a jar nearby at all times for those inevitable “I’m about to crash” moments where you’d normally grab a coffee.
Fish is brain food, thanks to all the healthy fats and protein it provides. Try one of these 25 Healthy Salmon Recipes next time you’re too exhausted to think about dinner.
Packed with B vitamins, hydration power, electrolytes and naturally occurring sugars, watermelon is a delicious way to wake yourself up. Mix up a watermelon-cucumber slush instead of your afternoon latte.
If all-day energy is what you’re looking for, start out with oatmeal (like these Easy Overnight Oats) in the morning. A little bit of fruit and some nuts and seeds (try almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts or chia seeds) will add just enough sugar, plus slow-burning healthy fats and protein.13