21 Grab-and-Go, Energy-Boosting Snacks
There seems to be a time around 3 p.m. most weekdays when the energy tank falls dangerously close to empty, and the only feasible options are downing a carafe of coffee or face-planting on the keyboard. There’s a third option, though—and it’s quite tasty: Nosh on some strategic snacks to bring back that alert, energized state of mind.
“Any time you go longer than four to five hours without eating, the body’s energy levels can crash significantly,” says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D. “Having a nutrient-rich snack that’s low in sugar and saturated fat will ensure your body has the fuel to keep going so you can easily complete all of your daily tasks.”
And that fuel isn’t going to come from the candy bowl. Eating carbs (read: sugar) alone is a ticket to the rollercoaster spike of pep followed by the crash that feels worse than if you had face-planted. But since fat and protein slow the rate at which carbs are absorbed by the body, adding them to the mix will lead to a steadier lift in blood sugar levels, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author of Read It Before You Eat It. Translation: a smoother, crash-free lift in energy.
This list of snacks is perfect for both bringing to work and running errands, and each has a trifecta of nutrients to keep you going harder, better, faster, stronger—even when the toughest slump hits.
1. Trail Mix
When you toss mixed nuts together with dried fruit (and even bits of dark chocolate), you’ve got an easy-to-tote snack—and one of Taub-Dix’s top recommendations. Experiment with these trail mix recipes and see which one provides the tastiest, longest-lasting boost.
With 8 grams of protein per cup (including all nine essential amino acids) and a healthy dose of iron, quinoa is a solid snack choice when you’re running low on fuel. How do you make a grain portable, though? Whip up Cheese and Vegetable Quinoa Bites, Quinoa Egg Muffins, or, for a sweet treat, Cranberry Quinoa Muffins.
3. Apple or Banana with Peanut Butter
The world became a better place when companies started selling nut butters in single-serving, squeeze pouches. (OK, slight exaggeration.) Take an equally easy grab-and-go fruit like an apple or banana along for the ride, and when an energy emergency strikes, rip open the PB, smear it on, and all will be okay. And delicious.