Top 10 energy-boosting snacks
Smart snacking throughout your day will keep you feeling alive and energized. Well-timed nibbles mid-morning and in the afternoon help counter the tiredness caused by hunger and low blood sugar levels. Instead of crawling for the nearest couch, simply try one of these 10 energy-boosting snacks that you can pack or easily track down when the daily nods set in.
1. Fruit and yogurt smoothie
Visit your local juice bar and ask for a fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie -- or make your own if you're at home. For a basic shake, blend a half-cup of frozen fruit with one cup of low-fat yogurt, or for a smoothie with a little more staying power, add a scoop of protein powder or two tablespoons of flaxmeal. The combination of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats will give you lasting energy to get you through to your next meal.
2. A handful of nuts and dried fruit
Trailmix has long been a popular healthy snack for hikers and with good reason. The protein and fat in the nuts and the carbohydrates in the fruit provide the sustained energy boost to trek long mountain miles. A handful of nuts and dried fruit can keep you alive and energized while you're trekking through your day of activities, too.
3. Crackers and cheese
A satisfying savory snack, a few whole grain crackers and a modest amount of cheese (about one ounce) will not only curb your hunger, it will also fuel your brain and body for a busy morning or afternoon. The complex carbohydrates from the crackers and the protein in the cheese will give you a boost of energy that lasts. Other nutrients in cheese that can aid with long-lasting energy are calcium, zinc, vitamin B2, vitamin B12 (also known as the energy vitamin), magnesium and vitamin D. For the biggest dose of vitamin B12, reach for Swiss.
This high-protein bean is also high in fiber and healthy fat, a combination that delivers sustained energy for not a lot of calories. A one-half cup serving comes in at 90 calories and can be snacked on one at a time while you're at work or on the go. Edamame can be found packaged in the produce aisle of many supermarkets and is widely available in the frozen vegetable section.
5. Nutrition bar
In a perfect world, all of your snacks and meals would be homemade, but in reality, grabbing a store-bought nutrition bar can mean the difference between nodding off during a conference call or successfully closing the deal. Opt for protein-rich, high-fiber nutrition bars that aren't sugar and calorie bombs.
6. Small soup, salad or sandwich
While soups, salads and sandwiches are eaten for lunch and dinner, a small portion of either can healthfully boost your energy and tide you over until your next meal. Beans soups, vegetable salads and whole grain lean meat sandwiches are your best bets for a filling snack.
7. Hummus and veggie sticks
Homemade or store-bought hummus paired with a handful of veggie sticks is a nutritious nosh that is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Best yet, this snack will satisfy your cravings for creamy and crunch. Not a fan of chickpeas? Make a kidney bean or black bean dip instead.
8. Sports drink
A turbo-charged energy drink may rocket your energy on the spot, but you're likely to crash and burn before the morning or afternoon is over. A better, long-lasting choice is a low-glycemic sports drink that contains some protein (many sports drinks are pure carbohydrate and sugar). Read the labels and be sure to check serving sizes so you're not gulping half your day's calories in a drink.
9. Cottage cheese and fruit
Cottage cheese and fruit is a balanced snack that never gets boring. You can try different fresh or dried fruit, add a sprinkling of flax, top it off with granola, or give it a healthy crunch with your favorite seeds and nuts. The combination of protein and carbohydrates will give you a sustained boost of energy to carry you through the day.
10. Espresso with milk
Better known as a latte, espresso and steamed milk is a favorite morning and afternoon pick me up. Not only do you get a modest amount of caffeine from the coffee, you get a delicious dose of protein, carbs and calcium from the milk.