The best vegan foods for energy are those that nurture your body and allow you to take on whatever idea or challenge you might have in mind.
Food provides the fuel we need to survive and do our day-to-day activities. The quantity of the food you eat is only one variable in a game where quality and food type also play a big role.
There are foods with higher energy levels than others, and foods of differing quality from which your body can more easily absorb energy, so the best vegan foods for energy to eat will depend on the purpose why you’re eating them.
Whether it’s to maintain high energy levels throughout the day or get a kick of energy before a workout so you can perform with higher intensity, you should take the purpose of your meals into consideration when choosing the best vegan foods for energy.
On a vegan diet, as long as you’re eating a wide variety of foods and ingredients, you should be getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need. But what about the energy you need?
Best vegan foods for energy
High energy vegan foods can get you through an intense workout or simply keep your energy levels high throughout the day. Because not all macronutrients affect your energy levels equally, the best vegan foods for energy include foods rich in carbohydrates as these are the fastest energy source.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
Complex carbohydrates provide you with a steady supply of energy throughout the day as they take longer to digest and thus increase your blood sugar levels gradually.
Simple carbohydrates are a good option for consuming before workouts as they’re easy to digest and thus easily used for energy. However, because they cause a rapid spike and drop of blood sugar levels, it is recommended you consume simple carbs in moderation.
The best vegan foods for energy include:
1 – Oats
Oats are a great option to provide your body with energy at the start of the day. As complex carbohydrates, a bowl of oats in the morning topped up with fruits and agave syrup can be just what you need to kick off your days.
2 – Lentils
Lentils are rich in minerals, protein, and fibre. They can help you feel satiated and energised for a long time as they are full of slow burning complex carbohydrates. They are also a great plant-based alternative rich in protein for anyone hoping to up their intakes.
3 – Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are often regarded as “a perfect carbohydrate” for good reason. They are highly nutritious, rich in potassium, which helps electrolyte balance during exercise and, more importantly, they are high in fibre, which slows digestion and provides a sustained release of fuel.
4 – Brown rice
Brown rice (as opposed to white rice) has a low glycemic index, which means its ability to raise blood sugar levels is low, which in turn maintains steady energy levels. Brown rice is less processed and more satiating than white rice, yet white rice is processed more quickly in your body.
5 – Chickpeas
Chickpeas have an incredible nutritional profile; they are full of fibre and protein, potassium, vitamins, iron and magnesium. Despite a moderate number of calories, they leave you feeling fuller and full of energy.
6 – Kiwis
With incredibly high levels of micronutrients, kiwis are a great option if you’re looking for an energy boost too. They are full of vitamins C and A, potassium and, most importantly, simple sugars and fibre.
7 – Persimmons
These sweet orange fruits are “a powerhouse for natural energy”. Full of natural sugars, persimmons will not only give you energy but also essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.
8 – Dates
Dates are rich in natural sugars such as fructose and glucose and are a high source of quick-releasing energy. A handful of dates can not only give you a quick burst of energy but also provide you with important minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
9 – Brazil nuts
Fibre-rich foods such as cashew nuts can improve your energy levels by slowing down digestion. Slower digestion doesn’t only mean constant energy supply but also consistent blood sugar levels. Brazil nuts are energy dense, rich in fibre, healthy fats, and plant protein.
10 – Vegan dark chocolate
Dark chocolate can be a vegan-friendly source of caffeine, which naturally is a stimulant and will boost your energy levels. While it’s recommended you eat dark chocolate in moderation, it can be a great option for a quick boost of energy before you work out.
Energy in vegan food
Energy in food comes from the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in everything we consume. For the most part, our bodies use the carbohydrates in food as the primary source of energy, and when they’re used up, the body then uses fats, and then proteins as energy sources.
In addition to the energy we require to keep our bodies’ systems working, we need energy for physical power. The type of physical power you experience matters, whether you’re using your muscles aerobically or anaerobically.
All foods give you energy, and this energy in the food that we eat is measured in calories or kilocalories.
The US recommends moderately active young adults consume 2,600 and 2,000 kcal daily for men and women respectively.
However, your age, gender, and levels of physical activity play a huge role in the amount of calories you should be consuming daily. In packaged food, you can usually find the food’s energy value on the label.
How to increase energy levels
Make sure your plates are diverse to ensure your body has what it needs.
- breakfast-porridge: Bruna Branco on Unsplash
- lentils: Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash
- brown rice: Joice Kelly on Unsplash
- chickpeas: Clark Douglas on Unsplash
- persimmon: Valentin Balan on Unsplash
- nuts: Randy Fath on Unsplash
- dark chocolate: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
- vegan-foods-for-energy: Jo Sonn on Unsplash
- best-vegan-foods-for-energy: Caju Gomes on Unsplash