Keeping your energy up during the day can be a challenge, especially in the afternoon. Instead of grabbing a tempting goody or hitting the vending machines at work, these six simple ideas can get you through the week. They’re easy to prepare, provide a serving of beneficial foods and you’ll likely save a little money over prepackaged goodies.
“Things like chips are empty calories that just leave you feeling hungry,” said Bonnie Buckingham, a registered dietitian with Samaritan Weight Management Institute. “Snacks that are a mixture of protein and carbohydrates will fill you up and give you energy for the rest of your afternoon.”
Add some of Buckingham’s recommendations to your grocery list and with just little bit of prep your snacks will be healthier for you!
Six Power Snack Ideas
MondayMake your own trail mix. Premade trail mix can be heavy on the peanuts and milk chocolate. Instead, mix your own. Try almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried pineapple, dried unsweetened cranberries, dried apricots and a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips to get heart-healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants.
TuesdayHard-boiled egg and whole-wheat crackers. A hard-boiled egg is a hearty snack when paired with a handful of whole-wheat crackers. Try a cracker with whole grains as the first ingredient like original Triscuits. If the eggshell is too messy for work you can peel it at home, just be sure and eat it the same day. In the shell, hard-boiled eggs last up to a week in the fridge.
WednesdayHummus and veggies. Bag up carrots sticks, bell pepper strips, cucumber, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes or any other veggies that sound good, and a scoop of hummus into a separate container. Look for hummus made with extra virgin olive oil for a dose of healthy fats. The hummus is filling on days when you feel hungry and the raw veggies add fiber and probiotics for healthy gut bacteria.
ThursdayApple or banana and nut butter. Apples and bananas are great because they are readily available year-round. If you’re bored with peanut butter, try one of the new nut or seed butters that are available: almond, cashew, pecan, sunflower and more. Be sure to shy away from added sugars on the ingredient list. Look for products that contain just two ingredients or less.
FridayCottage cheese or Greek yogurt and fruit. Choose unflavored varieties and pair with fresh fruit. The protein in the dairy and natural sugars in the fruit will fill you up and give you energy for the rest of the afternoon.
Avocado or nut butter on whole-wheat toast. You can snack healthy on the weekends, even if you’re not at work. Avocado and nut butters have healthy fats that fill you up and whole wheat bread is full of fiber. Choose bread with whole wheat as the first ingredient.
“Think about snacks like a mini-meal,” suggests Buckingham. “You want it to give you energy, taste good and be full of nutrients to fuel your day.”
Get more helpful tips on packing your lunch and controlling hunger.
Need more assistance navigating nutrition? Make an appointment with a dietitian in your area. A physician referral may be required.