Adult neurogenesis initiated by neural stem cells (NSCs) contributes to brain homeostasis, damage repair, and cognition. Energy metabolism plays a pivotal role in neurogenic cell fate decisions regarding self-renewal, expansion and multilineage differentiation. NSCs need to fine-tune quiescence and proliferation/commitment to guarantee lifelong neurogenesis and avoid premature exhaustion. Accumulating evidence supports a model whereby calorie restriction or increased energy expenditure reinforce NSC quiescence and promote self-renewal. Conversely, growth/proliferation inputs and anabolic signals, although necessary for neurogenesis, deplete the NSCs pool in the long run. This framework incorporates the emerging neurogenic roles of nutrient-sensing signaling pathways, providing a rationale for the alarming connection between nutritional imbalances, metabolic disorders and accelerated brain aging.