Do you reach for a quick fast food fix when you’ve missed breakfast or lunch? It’s easy isn’t it? But reaching for a healthy snack instead provides a better energy boost without the guilt.
Got a sweet tooth? (cough cough) If you’re like me, you may reach for a sugary snack to keep going. Candy bars, energy bars and energy drinks for example.
Sugar gives us a buzz initially but once our glucose levels drop we get that yucky energy crash. Even worse, if you’re borderline diabetic, diabetic or hypoglycemic; too much sugar leads to an energy roller coaster.
The best way to beat fatigue and boost energy is to eat snacks that contain fat, fiber and protein.
Protein and fat provide longer lasting energy than carbs.
You may not get the initial energy buzz of sugar from these snacks; but proteins and fat do a great job of providing sustained energy for a longer period of time. So in the long run you’ll feel more satisfied with fewer cravings. Oh and no sugar crash either.
Good healthy snacks are made from good fats and clean protein.
Good fats are unsaturated or monounsaturated. Good sources are avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sesame, flaxseed and fish for example. So crushed avocado on whole grain toast with a drizzle of olive oil is bang on target.
Clean protein means lean without the fat.
Think meat without the skin, fat rim or marbling. Chicken breast (not nuggets), pork burger (not bacon), eggs, lean fish such as cod, salmon or haddock are ideal.
Beans, water and powders work too.
Beans also can provide a good source of protein. Organic or sustainably sourced proteins are an even better alternative. So grass fed beef, wild caught salmon are going to be healthy choices.
When you add them to a shake or smoothie, protein powders are another way of getting a boost of energy.
While not specifically a snack, water should be the first thing you reach for if you’re feeling blah or wiped out. Don’t underestimate how much dehydration can mess with your energy levels.
Black or green tea is another way to rehydrate. Avoid drinking caffeinated coffee or tea after 3 PM if you’re sensitive to caffeine. Even a little can keep you tossing and turning at night. Which leads to more fatigue, wah wah.
Boost your energy and avoid fatigue with one of these healthy snacks.
Packed with potassium and fiber, a banana is the perfect portable energy snack. Add a dab of almond or peanut butter to each bite for a protein boost. If you have some leftover bananas that are too ripe and soft, pop them in the freezer. Once frozen, peel and blend the bananas with coconut milk and matcha tea to create a soft mushy pudding. Pop back in the freezer to refreeze for a yummy ice cream substitute.
Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are packed with protein and a dose of good fat. Buy a large bag and divvy it up into smaller portions you can take on the go. Unsalted and raw nuts are better for you than salted and roasted in oil.
In a hurry? Grab a KIND Nut & Spices Madagascar Vanilla Almond bar for a healthy almond snack. Although if you’re like me, one bar doesn’t always scratch the itch 😉
Old fashioned oatmeal is full of fiber plus packs a little protein too. Make overnight oats or add one part water to three parts oatmeal in a bowl and microwave for a minute. Dollop on some berries, a little milk or yogurt and you’ve got a filling breakfast that’s more than a snack.
Try oatmeal based snacks such as crackers or bars for a mostly gluten free snack. I’m currently infatuated with Nairn’s Cheese oatcakes for their delicious taste with no added sugars or hydrogenated fats. Add a little slice of cheese and it’s heaven on a cracker.
4. Chia Seeds
While not a snack on their own, chia seeds are a versatile addition to your oatmeal or protein smoothie and provide protein and fiber. Adding liquid to the seeds makes them plump up. One of the tastiest, simplest best banana pudding recipes I know of uses chia seeds. Make up some pudding ahead of time and you’ll have a tasty snack to satisfy any sweet craving.
5. Low Glycemic Bars
Keep one or two of these low glycemic bars in your desk drawer or car for a quick boost of energy. Sweetness is derived naturally from fruit and nuts add protein. The Nakd Banana Bread bar contains only raw fruit, oats and nuts and satisfies your sweet tooth (UK only). Bounce Energy Ball is an almond and whey protein bar that’s gluten free with 11g of protein (UK only).
My personal favourite is the RXbar. With 12 grams of protein, each bar is made with just the ingredients you see on the front of the package. Dates provide sweetness and egg whites, the protein. Plus they’re downright yummy especially the Peanut Butter Chocolate flavor. These bars satisfy my hunger much longer than others.
6. Turkey or Salmon Jerky, Bars & Strips
Don’t have a sweet tooth? If you prefer a healthy salty snack that’s packed with protein, try wild caught salmon jerky or salmon strips by brands like Epic. Turkey jerky (don’t you just love saying that) or grass fed beef jerky in sriracha or sweet chipotle flavours may give you that hearty healthy snack you’ve been craving.
Search on Amazon under jerky and dried meats. Don’t forget to scan the ingredients for sodium content on any cured meat and check out the protein content. Ideally you want at least 10g per serving.
Keep some of these healthy snacks in your car, at your desk and make it easy on you to resist the unhealthy stuff when you’re away from home!