Food For Thought

Skip the Energy Drink and Try One of These 6 Healthy Alternatives

Kayla Sheely, 06/03/2015

You were up late last night and didn’t get much sleep -- maybe your kids wouldn’t settle down, you had a work deadline you had to meet, or you were just out late. Whatever the reason, you are exhausted and need an extra pick-me-up.


Many people may be tempted to reach for an energy drink in a situation like this. Energy drinks contain “legal stimulants like guarana and ginseng” that help give a temporary energy boost. Energy drinks can range from 75 to over 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving (for reference, Mountain Dew only has 55 milligrams per serving). 


While they may seem like a quick fix, it isn’t wise to consume large amounts of caffeine. Dr. Joel Fuhrman notes, “caffeine is a stimulant and a long and healthy life is most consistently achieved when we avoid stimulants and drugs and meet our nutritional needs with as little exposure to toxicity as possible.” Habitually consuming energy drinks or highly caffeinated beverages makes it easier to neglect healthy sleep habits, can decrease sleep quality, and potentially lead to addiction. The best way to keep your energy levels high is to live a healthy lifestyle (check out these tips!). But if your energy levels are low and you need a quicker boost, try one of these healthier alternatives.


1. Water  

While water may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you need an energy boost, drinking a large glass of water can give you a boost. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue. Add some fruit for taste while still giving your body the hydration it needs!


2. Green Smoothie/Juice

A green smoothie or juice smoothie filled with real, fresh fruits and vegetables is loaded with nutrients. Include dark leafy greens and fruit for a healthy, energy-enhancing drink. Get creative with what fruits and vegetables you use, finding ones with properties best suited to your needs.


3. Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, and can be a healthy alternative to energy drinks. You could even put green tea or matcha (a powdered form of green tea) in a green smoothie!


4. Dandelion Root Coffee

Dandelion greens are a healthy green to add to your diet, but try using the roots to make a unique coffee. Elana Amsterdam, a best selling author, has a great recipe to try! 


5. Get Up and Move

Go for a brisk walk or try jumping jacks to help get your blood flowing. Moving your body will naturally give you energy. You don’t have to go for an hour run, either. Try 10 pushups or a 15 minute walk to get started.


6. Take a Power Nap

It can be tough to get a full night’s sleep, but taking a power nap may help wake you up. “According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, a 10 to 20 minute nap can boost alertness.” Try to squeeze in a little extra shuteye during the day if you are low on energy.

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