Your Guide to Boosting Energy Without the Energy Drinks

While the stimulating effect of energy drinks is heavily advertised, the side effects often aren’t. Yet new research shows that the quick boost of adrenaline that many teens resort to after a late night is doing more than keeping kids awake. It’s also laying the foundation for Type 2 diabetes. So what should adolescents reach for when they need a quick pick-me-up? These 10 foods are shown to boost energy and health without the added risk of diabetes.



Packed with potassium and easy to digest, bananas are a super energy-booster that have the added bonus of helping your nervous system.

Beans, Spinach, and Sesame Seeds


Consuming plant-based foods that are rich in iron helps you feel energized and increases immunity.



Minus the typical highs and lows of carbohydrate-heavy foods, oatmeal provides consistent energy throughout the day with carbs that release slowly. A sudden burst of energy can trigger short-term insulin resistance in teenagers, which the Canadian researchers report.

Whole Foods


Opt for whole grains instead of processed crackers, and whole fruit rather than juice or fruit snacks that typically come with a lot of extra sugar.

Fresh Figs


A mere three figs equals 30 grams of good carbohydrates — in addition to the potassium, calcium and B vitamins that support muscle function and strong bones.

Hazelnuts, Almonds, and Cashews


Full of protein and magnesium, these power foods convert sugar into energy.

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Even mild dehydration can zap energy, so drinking plenty of water and other unsweetened liquids helps keep energy levels high. Opt for water instead of those “energy shots” that can have a detrimental effect on processing insulin.

Dark Chocolate


A little bite of dark chocolate isn’t only a treat for taste buds; it also provides an extra boost of energy with caffeine and a stimulant called theobromine. Just be mindful of the sugar intake when choosing this tasty snack.



Load up on a variety of superfruits — apples, tomatoes, berries and stone fruits. Consuming a wide variety improves health more than consuming the same thing day after day.

Healthy Fats


Antioxidants hang on to fat in order to absorb into the bloodstream, where they can help boost energy. Don’t be afraid to add some salad dressing without the fat-free label.

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