If you’re more a salad type than a carnivore, spinach is one of your best go-to sources for iron, which helps deliver energy-sustaining oxygen to your cells. Add vitamin-C-rich foods like strawberries or oranges to your meal to improve absorption.
Step away from the white rice and breads, which can cause blood-sugar crashes that leave you dragging. A better substitute? Quinoa, a complex carb that can give you a steady stream of energy. Quinoa is one of the rare plant-based foods that contains all nine of the essential amino acids that your body can’t make itself. Amino acids are crucial for protein synthesis (the key to building muscle).
“When you build muscle mass, you can also increase your energy reserves and potentially your endurance,” says Darryn Willoughby, director of the Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.