Despite our best intentions, sometimes it can feel like a challenge to eat healthy, especially when we are on the go, overscheduled, traveling, tired or just craving something that isn’t the best choice. If we periodically skip meals or go a long time between meals, we can end up hangry, and nutritious options aren’t a top priority.
Energizing snacks are a great way to keep yourself going, maintain a stable blood sugar level and increase your nutrient intake. They also can help keep your metabolism humming, which helps to maintain weight or shed pounds. Smart snacking is not a sign of a lack of willpower, but can be a good strategy to feel your best.
We’re not talking about downing more coffee or throwing back 5-Hour Energy. Hydration is important for energy, but choose water instead. And opt for snacks that are 100-300 calories, with protein and complex carbohydrates, and some fat to keep you full.
Stock up on these energizing snacks to fuel your busy days and active lifestyle. They are quick and easy to eat with minimal – if any – prep required. Make a grocery list and keep these on hand at home, work, in the car or in your gym bag.
- Fresh fruit – Packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, portable options like bananas, apples, oranges, pears, grapefruit and grapes are easy to take with you. Or throw berries in a Ziplock bag or plastic container.
- Almonds and walnuts – With fiber, selenium, omega-3s and vitamin E, nuts are excellent snacks. Just limit your intake to about one ounce due to the high fat content of nuts.
- Yogurt and cereal – Low-fat plain or Greek yogurt, topped with whole-grain cereal or granola, delivers a protein and fiber punch that keeps your engine revved up. Or swap the cereal for some berries.
- Veggies with hummus – Dip carrots, celery, cucumber slices and more in hummus for a creamy-crunchy snack.
- Whole grain crackers with nut butters or low-fat cheese – An ideal blend of fiber, protein and healthy fats delivers energy.
- Roasted edamame – This high protein and low fiber option is low in calories and easy to tote.
- Trail mix – Some of these can be high in sugar, so you make your own with almonds, pistachios, peanuts, raisins, banana chips and more. Limit additions such as chocolate chips or M&Ms, and ideally measure your portion size so you don’t eat the entire bag in one sitting. Find lots of recipes online.
- Hard-boiled eggs – Enjoy protein, vitamins and built-in portion control.
- Mini-wraps – Roll-up turkey and low-fat cheese, along with some mustard, in a whole-grain tortilla and cut in half for a snack today and tomorrow.
- Popcorn – Skip the microwave version and air-pop kernels instead for a low-fat, fiber-filled treat. Go light on the salt, or season with herbs or spices.
- Avocado toast – Good for breakfast as well as a snack, this blend of healthy fats and fiber is an ideal mid-day pick-me-up.
- Oatmeal – Also not just for breakfast, oatmeal is a satisfying way to fuel your tank. Skip the instant packets, which tend to be high in sugar, make it on your own and carry it with you.
- Jerky – Low in calories and high in protein and iron, jerky comes in chicken, turkey and salmon options if you don’t eat red meat.
- String cheese – One piece of cheese has 80 calories, 6 grams of protein and calcium.
- Homemade energy bites – Made of oatmeal, nuts, nut butter, dried fruit, coconut, flax seed and more, these are protein and fiber powerhouses. Find recipes online.