You know that mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump—your mind is wandering and your productivity just isn’t happening. An energy burst is needed so you grab a cup of coffee, a soft drink, or a sweet treat for a quick solution. News alert!!!! A quick fix of sugar or caffeine isn’t a fix at all. While you may beg to differ, they actually drain your energy rather than give you more. Foods with a high glycemic index flood the body with insulin causing a brief boost of energy, but it is quickly followed by feelings of drowsiness and hunger.
Having healthy snacks on hand is key to staying fueled and focused when you need it most. They will keep your energy up and your blood sugar stable when a slump looms. When looking to grab a snack to battle the slump, consider these foods:
Bananas or Apples. Loaded with good carbs, vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, fruit is portable, doesn’t require refrigeration, and provides quick energy. Dried fruit is a great alternative to fresh.
Almonds or Walnuts. These morsels are a wonderful, portable snack. They’re packed with good fats, which help you stay full, along with fiber, selenium, vitamin E, and omega-3s. Because it’s easy to overeat on nuts, portion an ounce serving to a small container or snack bag.
Carrots. Just like sugary snacks, carrots increase blood sugar quickly. But unlike sweets, these treats provide vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium and fiber. Keep a bag of baby carrots on hand for your next snack attack. If carrots aren’t your thing, consider red peppers, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, sugar or snap peas, or raw asparagus for a boost.
Hummus or Peanut Butter. Add a source of protein like hummus or peanut or nut butter to fruits and vegetables for a satisfying snack. Just a tablespoon or two will be enough to keep you feeling full for hours.
Popcorn. Popcorn is a great snack because you get a lot of volume and fiber making you feel full. And, because it’s a whole grain, it’s healthier than a snack like pretzels. However, watch the calories and salt. Consider preparing low-fat microwave popcorn to curb butter calories and salt.
String cheese. While a good source of protein and calcium, cheese also packs calories and saturated fat so you have to be careful. The nice thing about individual packaging is that you know exactly how many calories you are going to inhale; and fortunately, there are several good options to choose from.
Water. Water fights off food cravings, increases metabolism, and also provides energy without any calories, salt, fat, or sugar.
These foods are also great after-school snacks for children, too.
Did I miss an easy-to-grab, healthy, energy-boosting snack that you like to eat? Leave a comment below and let me know!