One of the pitfalls of being sheltered in our homes is the constant nagging feeling of fatigue. It would be so very easy to just sit on the couch and pop on a good show. Yet, in order to weather the shelter-in-place storm that millions of Americans are dealing with, it’s important to keep your activity level rearing to go!
Staying active — even in your living room, backyard, or front porch — helps reduce anxiety, manage stress, battle depression and, basically, just make you feel a little (or a lot) better. This is because a physical activity or straight-up exercise “releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood.”
Plus, the activity you choose doesn’t have to be a standard exercise such as running, stationary biking, or an online yoga or pilates class. Every day physical movement is also included in this category such as long walks, gardening, raking leaves from the yard, hand-mowing the lawn, or even deep cleaning the house! In fact, a study found that walking for an hour a day can reduce “the risk of major depression by 26%.”
Alright, you want to be active every day, but that couch is just calling you!
What is a quarantined person to do?
While half the battle is in the mind, the other half can be fought with the foods you eat. Plant-based foods are riddled with energizing compounds that “support energy metabolism” giving you the drive from the inside out to avoid the couch, turn off the television, and take an hour a day to get active!
Here are a few energizing, plant-based snacks to have on hand for those “need energy” moments!
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Whole Foods Archives!
While bananas may get the short end of the stick due to their fructose content, they also happen to be “one of the best foods for energy” as they are an “excellent source of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6.” This Chocolate Banana Protein Oat Bites recipe by Vicky Coates is the perfect combination of both energizing banana, oats, and dark chocolate.
Looking for an energizing grain to fill your tummy and get you moving? Try incorporating brown rice, such as in this Brown Rice Crackers recipe by Melanie Sorrentino. Brown rice is highly nutritious, less processed, provides a great source of fiber, manganese, and happens to be low on the glycemic index.
Trying to avoid grains, but still need those energizing carbs? Sweet potatoes are the perfect substitute such as in this Sweet Potato Scones recipe by Helyn Dunn. These naturally sweet foods are packed with healthy carbs, fiber, and manganese, offering the perfect balance between high carb and carb-digesting elements.
Apples are a great source of “slow and sustained energy release” due to their “rich content of natural sugars and fiber.” On top of that, you’ll get a whopping dose of powerful, body-loving antioxidants, such as in this Apple Nachos recipe by Misha and Vicky Collins.
While it’s best not to go too crazy with the chocolate consumption, a bit of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent or higher and with low sugar content) can help beat that sweet tooth back, while also giving you a boost of energy. It’s all due to the cocoa, which has been shown to increase “blood flow throughout the body” including the delivery of “oxygen to the brain and muscles, which improves their functions.” Try this Coconut Date Puffed Millet Bars recipe by Angelina Papanikolaou to have on hand!
Goji berries are not only a superfood and adaptogen, but they also help give you an energy boost by decreasing your feelings of fatigue. This Goji Berry Chili Pralines recipe by Vegan Reset is the perfect goji berry-rich snack to keep around during your quarantine!
Quinoa is rife with wonderful nutrients, yet when it comes to energizing you for that afternoon workout, it’s all about the healthy carbs! Low on the glycemic index, these carbs “are absorbed slowly and can provide sustained energy release.” This Peanut Butter Quinoa Bark recipe by Natalie Martin MS, RD and Lexie Staten MS, RD is a super creative way to incorporate quinoa into your diet, even if you’re not a fan!
Oats are an all-around wonderful plant-based food to incorporate into an energy-boosting diet! Specifically, oats contain “beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that forms a thick gel when combined with water” and that also happens to “delay stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood” meaning you feel fuller longer and get hit with a slow release of energy. This No-Bake Trail Mix Popcorn Clusters recipe by Christine DesRoches incorporates oats along with a few other energizing components to keep you going and full all day long.
The “high amounts of vitamins and minerals” found in edamame have been found to “increase energy in different ways.” While these little beans are super tasty on their own or with a splash of salt, you can also try making a wholesome snack such as this Spicy Garlic Edamame recipe by Adam Merrin and Ryan Alvarez.
Lentils are the champion of filling your stomach, controlling blood sugar levels, and infusing your body with much needed steady energy. This Quinoa Lentil Meatballs recipe by Kristen Genton is great to prep in bulk, freeze, and have on hand in the fridge throughout the next month.
If you can keep fresh avocadoes on your shelf right now, then make it happen! They’re not only an incredibly nutritious meal all wrapped up into one safe-to-eat skin, but due to their high levels of healthy fat, they also happen to be great energizers. Make your avocado last a bit longer with this Loaded Potato Bites recipe by Crissy Cavanaugh.
Rich in vitamin C and a slew of antioxidants, strawberries not only help fight inflammation but they also “help fight fatigue and give you energy.” This Raw 3-Ingredient Strawberry Sorbet recipe by Holly Jade is a super tasty, super healthy way to boost your energy and quell that sweet tooth.
Much like nuts, seeds are an excellent source of energizing healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. In particular, seeds are a great plant-based source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, known to help fight fatigue. Give seed bread a whirl with this Simple Homemade Pumpkin Seed Butter recipe by Nikki Stokes.
If you’re looking for a gentle pick-me-up to enjoy on your back patio — that little bit of encouragement to get up and going — green tea is a great option! It’s got a hit of caffeine, while also providing an excellent source of incredibly potent antioxidants that help fight fatigue from the inside out. This Pistachio Matcha Truffles recipe by Helyn Dunn utilizes the potent version of crushed dried green tea leaves.
Thought you’d make it out of this list without seeing something green? Think again! Green leafy veggies are a good bet for any health-conscious, plant-based list. These veggies not only replenish your nutrient stores, but they’re also known to help fight inflammation and fatigue. Try this super creative No-Bake Berry and Spinach Cashew Cream Bars recipe by Taylor Kiser to incorporate these green veggies into your daily diet.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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