How to Make the Perfect Energy-Boosting Snack

Article posted in: Lifestyle
Healthy layered dessert with yougurt, granola, jam, red currant and blueberries on wooden background with space for text

Afternoon snack slump got you down? Don’t sweat it! Just follow these simple rules for building the perfect energy-boosting snack, and you’ll have that pep back in your step in no time at all.

Choose Complex Carbs

Although snacks containing simple carbohydrates (think soda, fruit juice or snack cookies) break down in your body quickly, releasing a quick burst of energy, you’ll pay for the perk-up later. That’s because these types of carbs break down so fast, they can cause your blood sugar levels to plummet, leaving your energy depleted. So skip the simple sugars and instead opt for complex carbs, which take longer to digest and therefore release energy at a slower, more stable rate. Some good options? Whole grain breads and cereals, green veggies, beans, lentils and peas.

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Power Up with Protein

Opting for high protein options can help keep you feeling full—protein generally increases satiety to a greater extent than carbs or fat, and may lead to a decreased need for subsequent snacks. There are other perks to protein: Diets higher in this nutrient are also associated with an increase in thermogenesis, which is a fancy term for the metabolic process your body uses to burn calories and produce heat.

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Fill Up on Fiber

When it comes to sustaining energy, fiber is key. That’s because fiber slows digestion, enabling a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day. Fiber can be found in whole fruits and veggies, beans and whole grains.

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Choose These Smart Snacks

Now that you know what your snack should contain, here are 11 tasty examples that fit the energy- and health-boosting bill (just be sure to consult with your Grocery Guide for proper portion sizes!):

1. Apple slices with your favorite nut butter
2. String cheese and carrots
3. Plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
4. Air-popped popcorn mixed with Parmesan cheese
5. A protein shake with added fruit
6. Whole grain crackers and a slice of low fat cheese
7. Small whole wheat pita and hummus
8. Trail mix (just don’t overdo your portion!)
9. Whole wheat mini bagel with tuna
10. Hardboiled egg with mixed veggies
11. Edamame with whole wheat crackers