October 6, 2021

12 Energy-Boosting Foods To Wake You Up

Breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. What better way to get up in the morning than to eat a breakfast full of champions? A mix of energy-boosting foods can help us get through lunch and sharpen our minds.

We reached out to experts for their advice on how to identify energy-boosting foods and which foods are best. You can read their responses below.


  • Deborah Malkoff Cohen, MS, RD. CDN. CDE is the founder of NYC Eat Well.
  • Rebecca Washuta, a registered dietitian who is also a coach project manager at Noom, is Rebecca Washuta.
  • Stephanie Hunter, M.Ed., nutrition education, CHS and coach poroject coordinator for Noom.

What is the Definition of an Energy-Boosting Food?

Deborah Malkoff Cohen, founder of NYC Eat Well, says about energy-boosting that the food will contain a moderate amount protein and/or fibre to keep you satisfied for hours and your blood sugar stable. It should contain vitamins and minerals that fuel the body’s metabolic pathways, including iron, B12 and CoQ10.

Stephanie Hunter is the M.Ed and Nutrition Education & Coach Project Coordinator at Noom. Hunter also states that “all food will give you an energy boost, but different foods will give you different amounts of energy.” Lean proteins and B vitamins are other features that help convert glucose into energy.

What Foods Are Best Avoided?

While convenience may be the best option for our hectic lives, it is not always the most effective way to boost energy. Malkoff Cohen says, “I would advise against highly processed and packaged foods because they are often low in fiber and proteins, high in sugar, chemicals and preservatives, and can temporarily spike your energy. However, once insulin has been released to bring blood sugar back to normal, you will feel a crash and most likely want to eat more sugary foods.”

Noom Rebecca Washuta, Registered Dietitian and Project Manager for Noom, discusses the lack of nutrients found in these foods. Simple carbs like donuts or other sugary treats are high in calories and low in nutrients. It is best to avoid them in the mornings because they can make you feel tired and hungry before lunch.

Refined and processed grains like white bread and cereal have less fiber than whole-grain alternatives. Hunter explains that these energy-boosting foods are more easily digested by the body which results in a rapid spike in blood sugar and then a crash later in a day.” Hunter agrees. This is also true for low-calorie foods, which often contain added sugars that can cause energy crashes.

12 Energy-Boosting Foods For Your Breakfast Plate

We asked experts to recommend the best foods for an energetic start to the day.

Malkoff-Cohen’s Picks:

  1. Eggs: A 7-gram egg contains high-quality protein. It also contains iron, vitamins and minerals (in the yolk).1 Eggs are versatile in their versatility. They can be eaten scrambled or hard-boiled as well as eggs cups. Fun fact: Eggs from pasture-raised chickens have twice the omega-3 fat and three times as much vitamin D than eggs from traditional feed.
  2. Bananas: Rich in complex carbs and potassium, bananas can be a great way to get your day started.
  3. Chia Seeds: These seeds are a treasure trove of sustainable energy that dates back to the Aztecs, Mayans and Mayans. One-ounce (two tablespoons), of chia seeds provides 11 grams of fiber, 4g protein, and 12g of carbohydrates. Chia seed pudding is a satisfying breakfast choice because of its high soluble fiber content.
  4. Cottage cheese: A cup of cottage cheese (1% milkfat), has 163 calories. It also contains 28 grams of protein. This cottage cheese is a great choice for vegetarians. Cottage cheese also contains nearly 60 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12, which is required for many energy-enzymatic reactions. Cottage cheese can provide a similar feeling of fullness to eggs.4 It is also rich in selenium which is an antioxidant that is essential for thyroid health. How do you incorporate cottage cheese in your breakfast? Use it as a substitute to milk in pancakes and waffles; add it to fruits such as berries, peaches slices, bananas, or melon; blend with milk and fruits for smoothness; or put it on toast with cream cheese, cinnamon, and butter.
  5. Avocados: Avocados are high in calories and fiber. They have 160 calories and 7 grams of fiber. 15 grams of healthy oils. Avocados also provide continuous energy. They also contain good amounts of soluble fiber. This feeds our friendly bacteria to maintain a healthy digestive system. Avocados also contain phytonutrients, which are nutrients in plant foods that our bodies require to function properly.
  6. Oatmeal is a complex carb that can be converted into energy quickly. Oats are rich in vitamins and minerals that aid the energy production process, including iron and B vitamins. For the most processed options, choose steel-cut or roll oats.
  7. Caffeine: Coffee is a natural stimulant because of its caffeine content. For an instant boost of energy, caffeine quickly moves from your bloodstream to your brain. Experts recommend keeping your daily caffeine intake to under 400mg, or four cups of coffee.

Washuta’s Picks:

  1. Yogurt: This natural, sugar-free yogurt is rich in calcium, fatty acids and protein. It is easy to eat while on the move, as Greek yogurt is particularly high in protein. A yogurt bowl is a one-cup Greek yogurt (or non dairy yogurt), two tablespoons chia or flax seeds and one piece of fruit such as a peach, a handful of fruits, or a small amount of hemp seeds.
  2. Ezekiel bread: Ezekiel bread is one of the most nutritious breads. It contains a mixture of sprouted grains including barley, beans, millet and spelt. This bread is dense and full of nutrients and has no added sugar. Ezekiel toast: Toast two slices of Ezekiel bread with two tablespoons of butter or half an avocado. 

Hunter’s Picks:

  1. Walnuts: These nuts provide a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and will keep you full until the end of your day8. They are also high in omega-3 fats which your body uses to provide energy.
  2. Fruit and Nut Butter: A combination of foods rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates and lean proteins will give you lasting energy to get through the day. Mix your favorite fruit with peanut butter or almond butter. Both low-carb options are rich in healthy, satisfying fats, and provide around 3.5-4g of protein per tablespoon.
  3. Hummus and Cucumbers: Both hummus and cucumbers are high in water. The chickpeas found in hummus contain a lot of protein and fiber, so you’ll feel full throughout the day. Chickpeas also contain magnesium, which is essential for energy production.