Instead of splurging on unhealthy commercial energy drinks, consider natural alternatives. While you might be tempted to reach for energy drinks as an afternoon pick-me-up, they can be packed with sugar and artificial coloring. You can easily make inexpensive, healthy and delicious natural energy boosters at home, whether you're hankering for some caffeine or a vitamin boost.
Powerful Pomegranate Green Tea
Green tea gives a natural caffeine boost, but the additions of pomegranate juice and chia seeds both pack antioxidants and nutrients that will also rev the body's engines. Brew a green tea bag in a mug with hot water. After letting it steep, remove the tea bag and stir in some pomegranate concentrate. Sweeten with honey and add chia seeds. Let the drink cool before pouring into a cup with ice.
Good Green Juice
Instead of reaching for a coffee in the morning, green juice can suffice as a healthy alternative. According to Judita Wignall, author of "Going Raw," green juice contains lots of leafy goodness with chlorophyll that helps oxygenate your blood, making your brain sharper and increasing energy. Use a juicer to press some cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, parsley and lemon. For a zesty finish, add a little ginger. Pour into a tall glass with some ice and garnish with a slice of cucumber. After drinking this concoction, you'll find yourself more alert and ready to take on the day.
Uplifting Banana Shake
A banana shake is perfect for a post-workout boost. According to dietitian and athletic trainer Dana White, the milk and yogurt in a shake provide your body with protein and carbohydrates, which will help you bounce back from a hard workout. Bananas are also packed with potassium and magnesium, so they replenish electrolytes and improve muscle function. Make this tasty shake by putting banana, low-fat yogurt, milk, vanilla extract and ice cubes in a blender. Blend well and enjoy.
Drinks high in electrolytes can help hydrate your body and restore your energy before or after a workout, according to metabolic disorder and personal training specialist Lisa Lynn. You'll start with water as a base; if you want to purify your water at home, simply boil water in a tea kettle and let it cool. Then add lemon and lime juice for your electrolyte replenishment. Mix in a little sugar, coconut milk or honey to sweeten. Put a couple wedges of lemon or lime in the drink, and take it with you in a travel mug for a quick pick-me-up.