While many of us run to the nearest vending machine for chocolate, soda or candy to get through the 3 o’clock slump, these choices are loaded with extra calories, sugar and caffeine.
For longer-lasting energy, eat protein along with carbohydrates to slow down the rate at which your body digests. Just be sure not to include too much fat (as in a king-sized candy bar or large order of fries), which can leave you feeling sluggish. Foods that contain small amounts of healthy fats along with protein and complex carbohydrates make energizing snacks.
Here are six healthy, nutrient-rich snacks to help you feel energized until dinner:
Nuts such as almonds, pistachios and peanuts contain protein and fiber, which help keep you feeling full. Plus, cracking open the in-shell varieties can provide a break from staring into the computer and change up the monotony of your day at the office.
Low-fat dairy items, such as a cup of yogurt or kefir smoothie, offer a good mix of protein and carbohydrates, plus calcium, B vitamins and potassium. Try pairing a light string cheese stick with a couple of dried apricots for a tasty nosh.
Do as the Romans Do
Five olives (or one tablespoon of olive oil) are full of unsaturated fat that can help you feel full for a long time. According to a study published in The Journal of Cell Metabolism, once oleic acid reaches the intestine, it’s converted into a hormone that helps fend off hunger pangs. Try dipping whole-grain bread into olive oil instead of using butter, or enjoy a few olives with whole-grain crackers.
In-shell edamame (green immature soybeans) are packed with protein and fiber. Plus, they provide a lot of bang for your calorie buck at only 100 calories per 45-pod serving. Just pop them in the microwave or eat them cold.
When you crave a crunchy, salty packaged snack, and munching on veggies just won’t do, there are still some choices that are better than others. Look for crackers and chips made with whole grains instead of their refined fiber-less cousins. Whole grains contain fiber, which your body digests more slowly than refined carbs, plus B vitamins that your body needs every day to convert food into energy. Look for snacks made with 100 percent whole grains and at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.
Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Instead of downing a can of fully leaded soda, enjoy a non-caffeinated, carbonated drink such as club soda with a lime wedge. Sometimes, it’s just the bubbles that brighten your spirits, rather than the caffeine.
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