This post offers 5 easy ways I use to boost energy through the day on a vegetarian diet. Most of these can also be used on a vegan diet.
A few days ago, I posted about our March Vegetarian Challenge: Fatigue, and listed some of the common dietary reasons you might feel fatigue on a vegetarian diet. For example, the bioavailability of nutrients, vitamins and protein found in plants is not as great as that found in animal products. This means we need more protein and more nutrients on a plant-based diet.
Below are my 5 favorite ways to boost energy on a vegetarian diet, along with some recipe ideas. As a note, these are dietary solutions, but energy can be very effectively boosted with exercise, adequate sleep, and by managing stress as well.
Also, everyone’s body responds differently to different foods. So I’ve included additional ideas that have been successful for others too. If you’ve tried some solutions to fatigue that have worked for you, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
My 5 Favorite Ways to Boost Energy on a Vegetarian Diet
Stay hydrated with water and lemon throughout the day.
Sometimes flagging energy is really just a sign of dehydration. And I confess, left to my own devices, I don’t naturally drink enough water during the day. So, I like to keep a jug of water with slices of lemon on the counter as a reminder.
As a note, don’t skip the lemon. It has fabulous energy and revitalization benefits you don’t want to miss out on. Like other citrus fruits, it’s packed with Vitamin C and lots of antioxidants. Additionally, it kicks the digestive system into action and helps you fight off infections.
- #1 Recipe idea: One way to get me to drink more water is to spike up the flavor. My go-to tea for boosting energy and my immunity is so simple and ready in less than 5 minutes. It’s a Honey Lemon Ginger Tea. I heat up 1 cup of water in the microwave oven and stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon grated ginger and 1/2 teaspoon honey. Go to the link for details. Note: the nutrients are better if you use freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly grated ginger.
Have nut butters + fruit on hand
What I love about this kind of snack, is it can be ready in 10 minutes flat. And it’s portable for an on-the-go snack in the car or at my desk. Peanut butter and almond butter are my two favorite nut butters, but cashew butter works just as well.
- #1 Recipe idea: Core and slice up apples into wedges and dip them into the nut butter. I prefer crisp apples such as Granny Smith, Fuji and Honey Crisp. The apples’ natural sugar plus the protein of the nut butter is a perfect combination to get a quick, healthy energy boost.
- #2 Recipe idea: Peel and slice bananas lengthwise and smear the nut butter on top of each slice. Eat open-face or stack them into a banana sandwich, using the banana slices as the “bread”. The bananas are a great source of potassium and Vitamin B6, both of which provide good energy along with the nut butter.
- #3 Recipe idea: Here’s a great recipe for banana and peanut butter bites that requires a little more work, but it’s still very easy and delicious!
Energy Drinks and Smoothies
There are a lot of drinks, smoothies and powders that tout themselves as energy boosters and the perfect meal replacers. For the most part, they can be separated into protein drinks, and drinks high in either caffeine or carbohydrates.
I’m a personal fan of protein powders, but they’re not all the same. Be sure to check out the ingredients. Ideally, they provide nutritional benefit beyond just the protein. The one I like is Isagenix IsaLean Shakes. You can order them from their website or, for some flavors, on Amazon. As a note, the vegan version is only available from the Isagenix site at this time, which is the version I use.
It touts itself as a meal replacer, but I also use it as an afternoon energy boost. I approach meal replacement claims cautiously. Even though a particular powder may offer an impressive nutritional profile, they generally won’t give you same nutritional punch as whole foods.
- Recipe idea: Mix 8 ounces of plant-based milk with protein power, along with 4 – 5 ice cubes, a banana, and a handful of strawberries for an afternoon energy boost. You can also add a tablespoon of nut butter to the mix for some extra protein.
Another energy booster drink I’ve heard good things about is Ningxia Red, which offers excellent antioxidants. As a note, it has negligible protein and has approximately 6 grams of carbohydrates from fruit for every 2 ounces.
Arbonne Energy Fizz Stick, a blend made with ginseng, and Yerba Mate, a blend made with naturally caffeinated leaves of a South American tree both have a loyal fan base. Both are naturally caffeinated energy drinks offering more nutrition that your typical cup of joe.
Nuts, Roasted Chickpeas, Pepitas (Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)
I roast my own chickpeas and pumpkin seeds, and they’re both easily available in snack packages with various spice flavorings.
- Recipe idea: Toss cooked chickpeas in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes in a 400˚F oven. Toss and roast an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and finish with a spice mixture of smoked paprika, curry powder and little cayenne.
Hard boiled eggs
I always keep a bunch of hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator. I hard-boil 6 of them at a time, and put them in a special place in the refrigerator so I don’t confused them with uncooked eggs. Alternatively, you can put them back in the egg carton with an “H” marked on the shell.
During the month, I’ll add specific recipes I use, along with full directions, for you. Also, if you’ve found other ways to boost energy on a vegetarian diet, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.