Get inspired to fuel your day the healthy way with our top picks of energy-giving foods, with delicious recipes to spark your creativity. You can also check our our list of 20 high-fibre foods and gut-healthy recipes.
What is a high-energy food?
The type and quantity of food you consume throughout the day has a big impact on how energetic (or tired) you will feel. While all foods will give you energy through calories, certain foods, such as those we’ve listed below, offer nutrients such as B vitamins, healthy carbohydrates, energising fats and satisfying proteins to help you stay alert and focussed throughout your day.
20 high-energy foods to fuel your day
These healthy pancakes are dairy- and gluten-free, as well as being low in calories. Made with just three ingredients, they are super-quick to whip up, and the peanut butter makes them sturdy, so they’re easy to flip.
2. Brown rice
Try this healthy hoisin-glazed tofu with stir-fried brown rice. It’s a really simple vegan dish that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. It offers protein-rich tofu and plenty of green vegetables, too.
3. Oily fish
Traybakes are the midweek saviour. This vibrant curried salmon dish is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants – great for maintaining a healthy mind and skin. Serve as is, or add a nutritious grain like brown rice or spelt when you’re extra-hungry.
Not a salmon person? Check out more healthy fish recipes.
4. Sweet potato
Pack more of this versatile and filling veg into mealtimes with this sweet potato and lentil curry. A vibrant low-calorie vegan dinner idea, it’s made with coconut milk and plenty of spices.
Jazz your omelette up with plenty of grated courgettes, kale, peas and chilli flakes, then serve alongside cherry tomatoes dressed simply with white wine vinegar.
Making great coffee doesn’t require expensive kit or masses of specialist knowledge, but a little advice will ensure you brew a flavourful, aromatic cup every time. Learn how to make the perfect brew at home with our simple guide.
Rethink apples by incorporating them into savoury dishes at mealtimes. Try this spelt and apple salad with crispy nuts and seeds, for instance, as a light lunch or starter.
Get more oats into your diet by starting your day with our berry and nut butter porridge. It’s also packed with fruit and nuts, making it a hearty and healthy breakfast that’s great after a workout.
Try our lightly spiced quinoa and chicken tagine. This one-pot recipe is easy to make and low in calories, for a healthy family meal.
10. Dark chocolate
Replacing cream and egg whites with avocado makes this chocolate mousse recipe naturally light and creamy without the extra sugar! Top with chopped hazelnuts for texture, or cocoa nibs for a little indulgence.
Peanut butter is a breakfast staple, and, as this fruity, tangy, crunchy creation proves, its potential goes far beyond simply topping toast. Try this peanut butter and jelly breakfast parfait to start your day.
This velvety chickpea dip makes a great addition to any sharing feast. Plus, making your own hummus is easier than you’d think.
This wholesome spiced squash, spinach and lentil soup not only packs in 18g of plant protein per serving, but it also provides a great source of vitamin A from the butternut squash, and iron from the spinach. Simply leave out the yogurt garnish (or try topping with a dollop of coconut yogurt) to make this vegan.
Avocados make salad dressings and ice creams super-creamy, so use them in an innovative way in our avocado fusilli pasta. It’s a great way of using up overly ripe avocados, which give the pasta sauce a lovely, silky texture.
15. Green veggies
This nutrient-rich brassica is a great source of fibre. Put it to work in our recipe for broccoli and peanut soba noodles – it’s really easy to make, and ready in 20 minutes or less. The fresh greens are a great combination with the noodles, while the roasted peanuts add a crunchy texture.
Pumpkin seed butter makes the perfect vegan toast topper for breakfast. Serve with apple and chia seeds for an energy-boosting brekkie. Add date syrup for sweetness, or leave out for savoury toast toppings.
Make comforting beans on toast a bit fancier with this vegetarian low-calorie recipe for two. The best bit? It only takes 20 minutes to make.
Feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go with this vibrant juice recipe, made with just three ingredients.
Check out this easy, warm salad recipe with black rice, crunchy edamame and juicy prawns. This punchy salad is an easy midweek meal for two, plus it’s low in calories.
Tracey Raye is the health editor for olive and BBC Good Food. Tracey, MSc, is a registered nutritionist, holding a master’s degree in Personalised Nutrition. She is passionate about harnessing the power of all things health and well-being – in a way that enhances, rather than limits our lives. She covers our nourishing recipes and collections, oversees our health strategy and stays adrift of the latest health and lifestyle trends in order to bring you the tools and inspiration you need to find what health means for you.