It can feel like our days are full of ever-lengthening work hours, and that feeling takes a toll on our energy levels. Having low energy is the kind of problem that sneaks up on you; it’s only when you feel your high energy levels return that you realize how exhausted you previously were.

We’re all in search of ways to boost our energy so we can do more and feel better, but some ways are definitely better than others. While it’s the most popular fix, relying on coffee or worse yet, energy drinks, for boosting our energy can quickly become an unhealthy crutch. Too much caffeine consumed regularly has adverse health effects and can even start to influence your mood for the worse.

The best option for boosting your energy while maintaining your health is to turn towards the many foods that act as natural energy-boosting helpers. Try some foods on this list next time you want to work on a project but can’t find the energy.

  1. Dark Chocolate — This energy-boosting food works in a similar way that coffee does, so if you’re trying to wean off coffee but need that caffeine fix, try out this more gentle wake-me-up snack. Just be sure to choose the highest cacao concentration to get those stress and exhaustion eliminating effects. Yes, it’s not as tasty as your favorite Godiva chocolate, but we’re trying to wake up, not indulge!
  2. Spinach — Popeye the Sailor was fond of spinach for more than just comedic effect; the high iron content in spinach is vital for maintaining robust energy levels. Just be sure to pair your spinach with some vitamin C, whether a glass of OJ or a side of tomatoes. Vitamin C help increase the absorption of iron in the body.
  3. Nuts— Choose your favorite nut and get to work with this energy-boosting food. Magnesium is one of the essential minerals in our body; it’s present in every cell and vital to our health, including our energy levels. Almonds and cashews contain some of the highest magnesium levels that can help kick your energy up a notch.

Before you pour that next cup of coffee or tread into the dark territory of sugary energy drinks, turn to nature’s way and give these energy-boosting foods a try.