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10 High Energy Foods for Busy People

Quick pick-me-ups that are guaranteed to recharge your body!

Being busy and maintaining a healthy diet should go hand in hand, but when we get busy, priorities often shift and healthy habits can slip away.

Below, we will briefly discuss food and its relationship to how energetic we feel, how this is measured, before we share 10 great high-energy foods you can integrate into your diet today.

What Are High Energy Foods?

High energy foods are nutrient-dense options that provide substantial amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other key macros to help fuel your body’s day-to-day activities. These foods, such as oats, bananas, and almonds, release energy either gradually or very quickly, making them essential for keeping you going through long days, and for giving you immediate energy boosts when you need a lift.

How is Food Energy Measured?

Food energy is primarily measured in calories, which quantify the amount of energy that food can provide to the body when it is consumed and metabolised. Calories are a measure of the potential energy stored within the chemical bonds of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. When these nutrients are broken down during digestion, they release energy that the body uses to perform all its functions, from cellular processes to walking to the shops.

From a more scientific perspective, the calorie content of a food is determined using a bomb calorimeter, a device that measures the heat released from a food sample when it is completely burned in a controlled environment. The heat measured corresponds to the energy content of the food. Although we don’t often use it, in addition to calories, food energy can also be measured in relatively old-fashioned joules. As part of the metric system; 1 calorie equals about 4.184 joules. 

Perhaps for simplicity’s sake, despite the availability of joules, calories remain the more commonly used unit in nutrition.

What Foods Give You Energy? Here Are 10 Great Options You Can Integrate Into Your Daily Routine:

If you don't want to compromise a healthy diet with your busy lifestyle, then these powerhouse ingredients are a quick pick-me-up that are guaranteed to recharge your body and stay alert all day: 

1. Cherries

Full of antioxidants called anthocyanin’s which are responsible for their deep red or purple hue. Anthocyanin’s are currently under research for anti-inflammatory and potential heart health benefits. Cherries are also a rich source of melatonin, a hormone that may improve quality of sleep. It’s important to note, however that studies in relation to sleep have used Montmorency tart cherry juice, and further research is needed. 

2. Eggs

By including a protein at your breakfast meal you can help to balance blood sugar and keep hunger at bay. Protein can help to slow the rate at which a carbohydrate will break down into sugar, which is a perfect way of obtaining sustained energy all morning long. 

3. Matcha Green Tea

Green tea contains a special substance called L-Theanine, which has been shown to stimulate a feeling of relaxed alertness and clarity. Swapping your espresso for a cup of matcha could provide a brain and energy boost without the jitters that come with excess caffeine.

4. Oats

All carbohydrates break down to sugar, but it’s only the fibre-rich slow release carbohydrates such as oats, which provide sustained fuel to the body and brain. Make the most out of your breakfast with these porridge recipes that won't take you more than 5 minutes!

5. Strawberries

Did you know that strawberries come with more vitamin C per 100g in comparison to oranges? Vitamin C is essential for strengthening the immune system and combating tiredness and fatigue. Top this onto your overnight oats, snack on these after your lunch, or drink PRESS' Orchard 1 for your hit of vitamin C

6. Dark Chocolate

Rejoice, cacao fans! Not only is chocolate super tasty, but high quality dark chocolate is also a source of magnesium which is an important mineral required for energy production.

7. Kale

Dark green leafy vegetables such a kale provide a rich source of iron. Iron is an essential mineral needed for energy production. Iron deficiency is an often-missed cause of fatigue. If you don't enjoy eating kale as a salad, then it might be worth opting for PRESS' green cold-pressed juices (Sweet Greens and Greenhouse 3), which both comprise of kale!  

8. Almonds:

Almonds are an excellent source of essential nutrients that are vital for maintaining high energy levels and overall health. Rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, they provide a sustained release of energy, making them an ideal snack for energy stability throughout the day. Almonds also contain a significant amount of protein, which helps in repairing and building tissues, while also preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, thus aiding in sustained energy release.

9. Bananas:

Bananas are a great on-the-go snack that's not only portable but also packed with essential nutrients like potassium, which helps in maintaining nerve function and muscle health. Their natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose offer quick energy release, making them an excellent snack for mid-day slumps.

10. Kidney Beans:

Kidney beans really are a top source of energy. They are rich in complex carbohydrates, which break down slowly and provide a steady release of energy over time.

Additionally, they’re high in protein and fibre, which can help stabilise blood sugar levels and sustain energy levels longer. They also contain essential nutrients like iron and B vitamins, which are crucial for energy production and overall metabolism. Incorporating kidney beans into meals can be a great way to boost energy and keep you fueled throughout the day.

This is why we’ve used kidney beans as a champion ingredient in two of our recently-released healthy meals: our delicious Mexican Rice and warming Chili Sin Carne.


  • We've highlighted ten high-energy foods that are perfect for busy lifestyles, including oats, bananas, and almonds, each offering their own distinct benefits like sustained energy and improved metabolic health.
  • While these ten are great options, there are many other nutritious foods that can boost your energy levels.
  • Remember to prioritise a balanced diet to keep your energy up and support your overall well-being.

By leading London Nutritionist Lily Soutter BSc (Hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip NT

Last Updated: 22/04/2024

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