I know, you are probably thinking I’m crazy. Well, I am, a little. Balancing two jobs (one of which is a newspaper editor), school (did I mention I have 8 a.m. classes?) and other extracurricular activities, I rely on caffeine to give me that morning and afternoon rush.
As you can imagine, this “no coffee cleanse” had me nervous at first. But, I did some research into other, natural, energy boosters, to help me get through the week and there are a lot of alternatives to choose from. I can honestly say I felt these foods gave me a different kind of boost. I felt more aware, more awake, than when I drink coffee and I definitely don’t experience the very real crash coffee can give you a couple hours after sipping it.
So, to save you some time, here are some of the foods I researched and if they provided me with energy or not.
Greek Yogurt and Granola
Like I said before, I have an 8 a.m. class twice a week, which is when I really need coffee to stay awake, so I was a little weary about what I was going to have for breakfast to give me enough energy. I went for Greek yogurt and granola. Greek yogurt, unlike regular yogurt, has a little bit of fat that has a good amount of staying power. The granola I added had protein in it, so the two combined made for a filling breakfast.
I really like Chobani Greek yogurt because they offer yogurt with fruit at the bottom that can be mixed in. After eating my breakfast, I did feel more awake than when I have coffee. I was expecting to feel sleep come over me halfway through my class, but I didn’t. I was definitely more awake.
I love carrots, especially the petite ones. I had a long weekend of waking up early and working every day and then, next thing I know, it was 9 pm on Sunday, and I needed to write a 5+ page paper. After my dinner, I ate a good amount of carrots and I felt really awake, probably from the crunch. Carrots are high in fiber and Vitamin A, which helped keep the edge of hunger away.
I bought an abundance of fruit: bananas, apples, grapes and Cutie clementines, so throughout the week I switched between fruits when looking for a snack. I had a banana with my breakfast every day, since they are the best source of potassium. Clementines are also a great source of Vitamin C and were typically my afternoon snack. It’s hard to just eat one, so I normally would end up eating two or three. Grapes are also a good afternoon snack and are refreshing.
#SpoonTip: Oranges or clementines are also really good to eat before a workout. The amount of Vitamin C and electrolytes in oranges give a quick source of energy.
Apples are also a good source of energy, especially when paired with peanut butter. Peanut butter is a good source of protein to pair with the fiber an apple provides. It’s true what they say, an apple keeps the doctor away because of the variety of vitamins and minerals they provide.
Raw veggies, such as peppers and cucumbers, are a great snack when you are looking for an afternoon pick-me-up. They provide a natural energy boost and are great for dipping in hummus, another energy source.
The crunch of veggies can help stop cravings for other crunchy foods such as chips, which can leave you with a heavy feeling in your stomach. Veggies, along with fruit, are guilt free snacking foods that not only fill you up but give you natural energy too.
I love these soft-baked granola bites. They are a great snack because of how filling they are and easy to just pop right into your mouth. Also, one granola bite contains a good amount of protein, which is sure to give you an afternoon wake-up. And you only need to eat about two or three because of how filling they are.
I’ve read a lot of articles about how a serving of almonds can give you energy, but, I didn’t experience any difference at all after eating these. The almonds I bought were unsalted, which I thought was the healthier option and would provide more of a “kick” than salted.
Taking a week off of coffee was not easy, but it is something I would do again. I didn’t miss the caffeine crashes I would normally experience, but in fact, felt more wide awake throughout the week. I would definitely recommend trying this week long “cleanse.” But, if you do need that caffeine fix, try drinking coffee between 9:30 – 11:30 am and 1 – 5:30 pm for the best results.