Do you frequently find yourself exhausted before your workday is even over? Does the idea of settling in on the couch for the evening in front of the TV sound a heck of a lot better than heading to the gym or out to dinner with friends? Have you ever been tempted to pull a George Costanza and curl up under your desk at work for a little mid-afternoon shut-eye?

While it can be tempting to believe that the answer to your exhaustion and depleted energy reserves lies in an afternoon visit to Starbucks for a cup of coffee or a sugary treat, the truth of the matter is that these things only provide us with a false sense of energy – stimulation at most – that can further deplete our energy and set us up to crash only a short while later.

It’s important to note that our energy levels are affected by a plethora of factors including poor diet, nutrient deficiencies, stress, lack of quality sleep, underlying health conditions and (yes!) inactivity. If you want to “boost” your energy, it’s important to be cognizant of all of these parameters. When it comes to snacks, however, here are some go-to ideas when you’re looking for an energizing fix!

Fresh Fruit

If you want to keep things simple and affordable, a snack of fresh fruit is your best bet. Sound too simple? That’s because it is! An apple, a pear, a few kiwis, or a cup of fresh berries all provide an excellent source of natural sugars that will help curb a sweet tooth. Fruit is also super hydrating, so if you don’t consume enough water throughout the day (dehydration is a major culprit of exhaustion) this is a tasty source.

Green Vegetable Juice

Brimming with easy to assimilate vitamins, minerals, enzymes and chlorophyll, this emerald green drink is a lot tastier than it may look. If you’re buying a prepared juice the trick is to make sure that the ingredients are actually made up of mostly veggies and very little fruit, if any at all, with the exception of lemon which cuts the taste of the greens quite nicely. One of my favorite green juice combinations includes celery, cucumber, spinach (or kale), lemon, and ginger. You’ll be buzzing with energy after this drink! The alternative to fresh green juice is to buy a high quality “greens powder” and mix it with water. Both should be consumed on an empty stomach for the best benefit.

Maca Powder

A root vegetable hailing from Peru and often referred to as “Peruvian Ginseng”, maca has been traditionally used to increase energy, stamina, and strength. Packed with amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, maca provides a powerful source of nutrition. Furthermore, it’s known to have adaptogenic properties, which help our body naturally deal with stressors better – like demanding schedules! The easiest way to incorporate maca into your diet is by adding a spoonful of powder to a smoothie, or to a homemade sweet treat such as these 5 Minute Maca Energy Bites that are made up primarily of raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. In fact, this recipe would be a great energizing treat even without the maca powder!

Matcha Green Tea

Okay, for all you coffee lovers that must have your afternoon jolt of caffeine, here is your healthy alternative. Matcha is a high antioxidant powdered green tea that’s made up of the whole tea leaves, rather than just the water from the brewed tea leaves that make up your regular cup of green tea. Even though it does contain caffeine, matcha is rich in l-theanine, an amino acid known for its calming effects and ability to promote relaxation and mental focus. These properties help to counterbalance the jittery effects of caffeine that many people associate with drinking coffee. Enjoy a cup of matcha whisked into hot (not boiling) water, or enjoy it in a latté paired with milk or your favorite dairy-alternative. Just be aware that many commercially prepared matcha powders contain added sugar. You can find a high quality, unsweetened matcha powder at your local health food store.

And lastly, if none of these ideas work for you then get outside in the fresh air and go for a brisk 10-minute walk to get your heart pumping more oxygen and nutrients to your bloodstream – an instant revitalizer and energizer!

About the Author

Elaine is a Certified Nutritionist and Women’s Health Coach. She works with clients across the globe to help them improve their health and relationship with food. Elaine believes in a real food approach to health that is rooted in optimizing digestion and includes ongoing and intelligent cleansing. You can download her FREE Hip, Healthy & Holistic Makeover Guide to learn 5 simple things you can do every day to lose weight, increase energy, kick cravings, and feel beautiful inside & out.