Be a Smart Snacker: 10 Healthy Snacks That Will Keep You Energized All Day
Having a bite to eat between meals can be a healthy way to balance your diet and keep you energized. But, what you choose for a snack matters. Healthy snacks are always a good idea.
When you feel tired, your body releases hormones that stimulate appetite and cause cravings for foods high in sugar and fat. (1) If you’ve ever flopped onto the couch at the end of the day with a bowl of ice cream, you know this first-hand.
A portion of junk food can give you a short burst of energy, but once it wears off, you may end up more tired than before. In contrast, a healthy snack that contains a balance of nutrients will promote steady energy levels and good eating habits.
The foods you choose throughout the day, and especially at snack time, can be the difference between a day of feeling productive or a day of fatigue and brain fog.
An easy way to be a smart snacker is to follow this formula:
Plant food + Protein + Fat + Low carb = A healthy snack.
Eating a plant-based diet means that your first thought when choosing food should be about getting more plants in your diet.
Generally, a vegetable or whole grain makes a good base for a snack. These foods are low in sugar but contain enough carbohydrates to give your body a boost of energy. Plus, the fiber found in plant foods will help you feel full.
Protein and Fat
Choosing high protein and/or fat foods will give you the calories you need to feel satisfied without causing a big jump in blood sugar. This will keep you full longer and help level out your energy for the day.
A big sugary snack at mid-day can have negative consequences later. While you might experience temporary relief from your food craving, all that sugar will have burned off within a few hours, and you will be back to craving fast sugar and fat.
A low-carb snack high in fat and protein will interrupt the cycle of cravings and junk food. By giving you energy and keeping you full, you’re less likely to crash at the end of the day.
10 Healthy Snack Ideas
Here’s what it might look like to follow the healthy snack formula:
Chopped, fresh veggies dipped in hummus.
An apple with peanut or almond butter.
Low-carb, whole-grain crackers with sliced cheese.
A mini salad with leafy greens, fresh veggies, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and oil and vinegar.
½ cup of trail mix made of a variety of nuts and seeds with a small amount of no-sugar-added dried fruit.
Two hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fresh fruit.
A handful of olives with hummus on a piece of whole-grain bread.
A small yogurt smoothie made with greens, berries, and avocado.
¼ an avocado mashed on whole-grain bread and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
A handful of almonds with extra dark chocolate.
Your Snack Should Make You Feel Good
Eating junk food might feel good at the moment, but it comes at a price. Energy crashes, fatigue, and junk food cravings are all part of the cycle when you choose unhealthy snacks.
Be a better, smarter snacker. Choose foods that will give you the energy you need to thrive and enjoy your day. The simple snack formula can be your guide.
Rebecca is a registered dietitian, yoga teacher and writer. She is passionate about integrative wellness and the intersection of food and movement with the health of the world around us. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys. For more of her work visit www.rebeccastilesrd.com.
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