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#GoodNights Challenge and Q&A with Food Blogger Sarah Coates

Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee every time that you feel run down, grab one of these energizing foods.

Feeling energized obviously has a lot to do with getting the right amount of sleep at night, but there are some other, less obvious ways to perk yourself up. One of the easiest ways to give yourself a shot of energy is to have a snack. After all, when blood sugar is low, so is your pep. While one common strategy is to recharge with a caffeinated drink, there are lots of other caffeine-free foods that can give you the same boost.

  1. Nuts like cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts: Since they are packed with protein and magnesium, these three nut varieties are especially good at helping your body turn sugar into energy. In fact, magnesium deficiencies are known to make you feel drained.
  2. Spinach: Having low iron levels will make you feel exhausted—both physically and mentally. Iron brings oxygen to cells, keeping everything in your body humming along at optimal levels. Spinach is a great source of iron, as are beans and lentils.
  3. Eggs: These protein powerhouses are also full of B vitamins, which help turn the food that you eat into the energy that you feel. The key is not skipping the yolk—that’s where you’ll find all of the important B vitamins.
  4. Edamame: You may think that it’s just a random appetizer on sushi restaurant menus, but shelled soybeans are a great energy-boosting snack. They have B vitamins, just like eggs, as well as copper and phosphorous, which convert food to energy and transfer that energy into your cells.
  5. Fresh fruit: Sugar is great at giving you a quick burst of energy (that’s why so many people reach for candy bars in the afternoon), but it can also cause a just-as-fast dip in blood sugar levels. Counteract that by combining your sugar intake with fiber, which happens when you snack on fruit like apples. Pick a fruit high in vitamin C (think kiwi, strawberries, oranges, pineapple, mangoes) and you’ll also help your body turn fat into energy.

While you’re chowing down on these snacks, don’t forget to drink lots of water. Being dehydrated will make you feel sluggish, no matter how many of the above foods you eat.