Healthy Snacks for When You're Feeling Low Energy
Everyone loves snacks, and in fact, they can play an important role in a healthy and balanced diet. Snacking is a helpful way to stay nourished and satiated between meals. However, choosing the right kinds of snacks can really make all the difference between feeling sluggish and feeling energized.
This article will explain what to look for in a healthy snack, as well as list a few snack options that you may choose to incorporate into your lifestyle.
What Makes a Healthy Snack?
When deciding on a snack, it’s important to consider how that snack will impact your body’s blood sugar response. Foods that spike blood sugar – such as those high in added sugars and simple carbohydrates – are more likely to leave you feeling hungry and tired. Foods that spike blood sugar are bound to lead to a blood sugar crash, and therefore crash in energy levels, too.
Instead, choose foods that will allow for a more gradual rise and fall in blood sugar levels to support more sustained energy levels and satiety.
To do so, it’s best to look for snacks that have a combination of macronutrients, with high-fiber carbohydrates and protein being the most valuable duo. High fiber carbohydrates will take longer to digest and absorb, and will help regulate blood sugar levels, allowing for more sustained energy levels.
While it’s beneficial for everyone to consider choosing healthy snacks that support energy levels, it can be especially valuable for athletes to perform and feel their best. Athletes may feel fatigued after a workout when their glycogen stores have been depleted. To replenish these glycogen stores, it’s important to consume carbohydrates and protein, as research suggests that the addition of protein supports more efficient glycogen restoration and recovery.
The next sections will list some great snack options that fit this healthy snack criterion to help you feel your best when it comes to snacking.
A chocolate chip cookie is one of life’s simple pleasures. However, having a regular chocolate chip cookie as a snack is likely not going to help you feel full, nor will it provide you with sustained energy. However, the chocolate chip protein cookies from Naked Nutrition are a different story.
These protein cookies make for a quick, healthy, and delicious snack for any time of day. With 10g of protein and 6g of fiber, this snack will absolutely provide sustained energy and satiety.
Protein and fiber take longer to go through the digestive system, allowing for a gradual rise in blood sugar, meaning no blood sugar spikes and no energy crashes.
Fruit and Nuts
A classic combination, you can’t go wrong with this iconic duo. Fruit is a refreshing snack that provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Adding nuts to your fruit provides protein and fat which will help you feel more satisfied and energized. If you’re concerned about portion size, one serving of nuts is about a small handful or so. However, it’s ultimately best to listen to your own body’s hunger and fullness cues and nourish your body with the amount that is right for you.
Instead of whole nuts, you may choose to snack on nut butter instead, which provides essentially the same benefits. The only difference is that nut butter is a more concentrated source and might provide more fat per serving. Plus, you might get some added sugars, oils, and sodium in nut butters, depending on the brand.
Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers
Cheese and crackers are other examples of delicious and nutrient-rich snacks that contains the right nutrients to boost your energy.
Cheese of all kinds provides a great source of protein, with most cheeses containing about 7g of protein per ounce. Cheese is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the amino acids that the body needs to function.
Remember, when looking for an energy-boosting snack that is healthy and balanced, it’s always important to pair macronutrients together for optimal satiety. Therefore, adding whole grain crackers is the perfect accompaniment. The benefit of whole grain crackers is of course the fiber content, which takes longer to be digested and absorbed.
So, whether you’re looking for a healthy afternoon snack to revive you from that 3 pm slump, or you’re looking for a post-workout snack to boost your energy levels, you can’t go wrong with any of these healthy snacks.
Remember, choosing snacks that will take longer to digest, such as those with protein and fiber, for example, is going to best support your energy levels and keep you satisfied.