These 11 Energizing Snacks Will Push You Through Your Afternoon Slump
Stash these energy-boosting snacks in your desk drawer, and you'll never get hangry at work again.
It's 10 a.m., just a few hours past your early-morning workout and breakfast, and you're already beginning to feel your energy take a nosedive. And when you've already had two cups of coffee, how are you supposed to get a necessary pick-me-up? Embrace your munchies.
"Snacking keeps your metabolism revved up and is a great way to boost your energy," says Tara Gidus, R.D. But a sugary granola bar isn't the fix—you need a snack that's full of revitalizing nutrients to keep you from a pre-lunch crash. Before you slump over in your desk chair, chow down on Gidus' favorite energy snacks.
Fresh Bananas and Apples
Loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, fruits are great energy snacks when you need a small boost. "[They've] got vitamins, minerals, and good carbs, which give you quick energy," says Gidus. Choose any fruit you like—bananas, apples, and oranges are easy to tote along with you since they don't need refrigeration. While they're not the most portable, berries are a great low-sugar snack option. (Need more inspo? Get creative with these easy and healthy ways to eat fruit.)
Recommended serving size: 1 piece of fresh fruit or 1 cup of chopped fruit or berries
Calories: 80-120, depending on the fruit
Yogurt and Cereal
When you need a pick-me-up like a shot of espresso—say, before a workout or when dinner is still hours away—turn to yogurt. Gidus recommends sprinkling some crunchy cereal on top for an energizing snack that will hold you over until your next meal. "You'll have the carbs in the yogurt and cereal for energy, and the protein from the yogurt, which makes you feel full longer," she says.
Recommended serving size: 1 6-ounce container of yogurt
Calories: 100-200, depending on whether you choose a fat-free or low-fat yogurt
One of the most under-the-radar energy snacks? Your go-to movie companion (minus all that butter, of course). "Popcorn is a great snack because you get a lot of volume and fiber (which makes you feel full), and it's a whole grain, so it's healthier than a snack like pretzels," says Gidus. What's more, the low-fat microwave kind is easy to prepare and low in calories. Stash a single-serve bag in your desk drawer for easy snacking when you're feeling that afternoon slump. (Then try adding these low-cal toppings and seasonings.)
Recommended serving size: 1 single-serve package of low-fat microwave popcorn
Half of a Turkey Sandwich
Nope, sandwiches aren't just for lunchtime anymore. "Lots of people think that snacks have to be snack food, but you can eat real food as a snack, too," says Gidus. A half of a lean turkey or chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread with mustard gives you energizing carbs and ultra-satisfying protein you need for a good snack that keeps you fueled for hours. (Related: 10 Hot Sandwiches That Satisfy Your Winter Food Cravings)
Recommended serving size: Half of a sandwich, made with 2 ounces of lean turkey meat and 1 slice of whole wheat bread
Calories: About 200
Red Peppers and Hummus
Remember the baby carrots and ranch dip your parents used to put in your lunch as a kid? This munchie is the adult version. Both veggies and hummus are well-rounded energy snacks, so when combined, they're an unstoppable duo. Create your own snack pack with Gidus' go-to vegetables—red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and raw asparagus—for a dose of good-for-you carbs, fiber, and vitamins. Partner with a heaping spoonful of hummus, which adds some protein to up the snack's staying power.
Recommended serving size: unlimited veggies and 1/4 cup hummus
Calories: About 100
Almonds and Walnuts
When it comes to energy snacks, you can still get that oh-so-satisfying crunch of potato chips without all the grease with roasted nuts. Almonds and walnuts are packed with fiber, healthy fats, which help you stay full, and nutrients like selenium, vitamin E, and omega-3s. Because nuts are notoriously easy to overeat, Gidus recommends this trick: Fill an empty Altoids tin with nuts for the perfect serving size (about an ounce).
Recommended serving size: 1 ounce of almonds or walnuts
Sometimes you just want to wolf down a whole bag of snack foods, and with soy crisps that's A-okay. Made of puffed soy protein, this healthy spin on your traditional chip is "the salty, crunchy, snacky thing many of us want in a snack." And with about five grams of protein per serving, they have more staying power than a bag of regular chips or pretzels.
Recommended serving size: 1 2-serving bag (eat the whole thing!)