5 Snacks to Keep You Energized
These snacks are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Sometimes your body needs a boost of energy to keep going throughout the day. And while that chocolate bar or bag of chips may satisfy your temporary sweet or salty craving, it probably won't help you stay energized and focused. Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D. and EatingWell's meal plan editor, recommends reaching for snacks that are high in fiber and protein. She says, "Eating fiber-rich foods means you'll feel fuller for longer and also have more stable energy levels without the slump." Here's what to stock in your desk drawer or pantry for when you need an energy boost.
Nuts are a great source of plant-based protein and satiating healthy fat. According to Seaver, "Fat takes the longest to digest, which is why including a healthy fat at every meal can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer." Lower-sodium cashews help satisfy your salt craving. We like these ones from Planter's. ($8.58, Amazon)
"Go for protein-rich Greek yogurt or plain whole-milk yogurt," says Seaver, because they have more staying power. She also recommends pairing yogurt with another snack on this list, like a handful of nuts or fruit. Learn how to buy the healthiest yogurt so you can make a snack that is nutritious and tasty.
Fruit is a great option when you want a snack that is high in fiber and provides a little sweetness. The naturally occuring sugars in fruit are healthy compared to the added sugars found in junk food. Seaver says, "Many fruits are low in calories, so you'll want to pair them with a healthy fat or protein source to make for a more satisfying snack." Try spreading a spoonful of peanut butter on your apple or pairing your grapes with a hunk of cheese.
We love hummus because it comes in so many great flavors, like garlic or roasted red pepper. And while chickpeas boast fiber and protein, the serving size is usually small. Seaver suggests pairing hummus with whole-wheat bread or veggie sticks so your snack will actually fill you up.
Whole-Grain Crackers and Bars
Opting for whole-grain versions of your favorite snacks is a smart move, since they're typically healthier than those made with refined grains. Whole grains are full of fiber and magnesium, whereas refined grains have little to no nutritional value. When choosing your snack bars, Seaver suggests reading the ingredient list carefully. She says, "Go for brands that are sweetened with fruit or are low in added sugars," as doing so will help you avoid an unwanted afternoon sugar crash. (We love Ohi bars because they only have 8 grams of sugar. You can find an 8-pack on Amazon for $32.)