Want to cut down on caffeine? The 5 best coffee alternatives for an energy fix

'What's Inside': The Science Behind Coffee

Do you rely on coffee to get through your day? Many people can't even think straight in the morning without a cup of joe by their side. I was once addicted to caffeine too, until it started making me jittery, anxious, and evenmore tired. Yes, you read that right—my daily helpings of java made me lazy, not lively, as my body adjusted to accommodate more and more caffeine, only to crash quickly after each serving.

Now, I'm not saying that a latte will harm you. But if you need to cut back on a cup or two—or you want to give up caffeine completely—these drink alternatives will leave you feeling equally energized.

1. Water. Again, I don't blame you if coffee is the first thing that touches your lips in the morning—it's delicious and gives you that perfect jolt of energy to keep your eyes open during the first few hours of the day. But coffee also dehydrates you, and dehydration leads to fatigue. The more plain, clear water you drink (especially first thing in the morning) the more awake and alert you'll feel. Try drinking one full cup of it at any temperature, with a wedge of lemon.

2. Chia Seeds. They're like nutrition sprinkles—packed with protein and fiber, pretty much tasteless, and extremely versatile. Back in the day, Aztec warriors reportedly ate chia seeds to give them high energy and endurance. Chia seeds are loaded with fiber and protein, and they enlarge once they soak in liquid so you'll stay full and energized after you eat them. Try sprinkling 1 teaspoon per day on top of cereal, oatmeal, or salad.

3. Cacao. You know how a chocolate bar can make you feel wired? Some of it is from the sugar, of course, but most of that energy may come from the chocolate itself. On it's own, cacao has amazing energizing properties and doesn't come with the energy dip associated with sugar. I like it best in powder or nib form. Try adding 1 teaspoon of cacao nibs to your morning smoothie or yogurt for a chocolaty taste (but remember that it will be more bitter than the sugary chocolate you're used to).

4. Good fats. Believe or not, a little healthy fat can keep you energized. Have you ever eaten a salad for lunch and felt hungry and tired after? Me too. It's likely that salad was low in protein and good fats, but throwing some nuts, organic animal protein, beans, or avocado on top can add energy-boosting nutrients to your meal. Another option: Swap your 0 percent yogurt for a 2 percent or full-fat variety if you feel like falling asleep on your keyboard every afternoon.

5. Carrot juice. When you have that afternoon slump around 3 P.M., instead of chugging down your usual second cup of coffee, consider having a small carrot juice. Carrot juice will give you a quick boost of better-for-you, all-natural sugar vs. the added sweetener in most fruity drinks.

Related: See some healthy substitutes for butter:
Butter substitutes
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Want to cut down on caffeine? The 5 best coffee alternatives for an energy fix

Applesauce, often used as an oil substitute, can serve as a butter substitute in cake-like recipes. 

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Mashed avocado can replace half of the butter in certain cookie, bread, and muffin recipes.

(Photo via Getty)

Canola oil is perfect to replace melted butter.

(Photo by Marc O. Finley via Getty)

Plain Greek yogurt can be used to replace half of the butter in your cookie recipes.

(Photo via Getty)

Prune puree, or prune baby food, works well as a butter replacement in recipes containing chocolate or cinnamon.

(Photo via Getty)

Use 3/4 cup of olive oil for each cup of butter in your recipe, especially in pasta or potatoes. 

(Photo via Getty)

Any sort of nut butter can replace butter as a spread.

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Pumpkin puree can replace butter in any bread or cake you want to have that fresh, autumn feeling. 

(Photo via Getty)

Coconut oil can be used in recipes that call for softened butter. 

(Photo via Getty)


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