Need Energy? These 10 Snacks Will Perk You Right Up
Give your body what it really needs.
Whether you’re rushing out the door in the morning or you need an afternoon pick-me-up, we know that we get our energy from food. The thing is, certain foods can drain your energy while others can provide a blast of nutrients that will wake you right up.
Snacking is a great way to pick up your energy levels, but only if you do it right. Have you ever eaten something and immediately felt tired after? If you choose foods that are loaded with artificial sugars, preservatives, and other harmful additives, you could be doing your body more harm than good. With that in mind, we came up with a list of some of the most nutrient-dense snacks that will give you the boost of energy your body needs. Check them out below.
An apple a day sends the energy-drain away! Apples are not only delicious, they’re also packed with gut-boosting fiber, natural sugar, and carbs. The fiber in apples helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar into your bloodstream, which helps you feel energized over a longer period of time. What’s more, apples also contain free-radical fighting antioxidants which are said to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. That means apples are the perfect food for steady, long-lasting energy.
Bananas are also packed with nutrients that enhance energy like carbs, potassium, and vitamin B6. In fact, one study showed that eating one banana before cycling was just as effective in improving performance as drinking a carbohydrate drink.
Chocolate fans, rejoice! Turns out, you don’t have to feel guilty about getting your afternoon chocolate fix after all. Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao) is loaded with antioxidants that have been shown to increase blood flow in the body, which has an energizing effect. The same study concluded that dark chocolate has heart-protecting benefits.
Berries like strawberries and goji berries are also very energizing for the body. You might already know that berries pack a powerful antioxidant punch. Goji berries, for example, have shown in studies to increase mental performance and alertness while lessening fatigue due to their antioxidant content. Goji berries also contain fiber, which slows down the release of energy-boosting sugar.
Similarly, studies suggest that antioxidants in strawberries can help fight fatigue. Strawberries are also potent in vitamin C, carbs, fiber, and natural sugar — all which give the body energy.
You might not think about yogurt as an energizing food, but the carbs in yogurt are mostly found in simple sugars (like lactose) that are easily broken down by the body into energy. What’s more, yogurts like Greek yogurt are loaded with energy-sustaining protein.
Before you go loading this snack up with butter, hear us out. Plain popcorn has energy-boosting properties because of its fiber content. A half-cup serving of popcorn contains about 78 grams of carbs and 15 grams of fiber — which is a lot. The fiber in the popcorn slows down the absorption of the carbs, helping energy to be released slowly throughout the day.
That being said, if you load your popcorn up with things like cheese or butter, it might not have the same effect. Fatty foods require more energy to digest and actually drain your body of that energy. To make your popcorn tasty yet energizing, try using plain sea salt or spices to flavor it up.
If you haven’t heard the buzz around edamame already, check this out. Edamame contains several energy-enhancing nutrients. A single cup of edamame has 79 percent of the RDI (recommended daily intake) of manganese and 121 percent of the RDI of folic acid. Folic acid and iron work together to fight fatigue and anemia while promoting energy. Manganese helps the breakdown of carbs and protein which also generates energy.
Even further, edamame contains other energy-boosting nutrients as well. A one-cup serving has about 16 grams of carbs, 17 grams of protein, and eight grams of fiber.
Hummus is delicious as a dip or vegetables or with crackers or pita bread. What’s more, it will give your body a much-needed boost. Hummus is made of several ingredients that help boost energy, namely chickpeas and sesame oil. Chickpeas are packed with carbs and fiber that slows the absorption of those carbs for a steady release of energy. The sesame oil in hummus is also considered a healthy fat, which also helps to slow the absorption of the carbs and prevent a blood sugar spike (which would otherwise cause an energy crash).
Whether or not you’ve boarded the keto train, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of healthy fats — and in this area, avocados reign supreme. Avocados contain fats called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have shown to promote good cholesterol levels and increase the absorption of other nutrients. These fats can also be stored and used as energy sources in the body.
Not only that, but avocados are also one of the most fiber-rich superfoods out there. The fiber in avocados can help you sustain healthy energy levels.
If you’re used to eating avocados in full meals, not to worry. To have avocados as a snack, cut half the avocado and dice it. Then, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and drizzle some lemon juice on top! Mmmmm.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are also loaded with healthy fats that boost energy. For example, nuts like almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and walnuts contain vitamins and minerals like manganese, B vitamins, and vitamin E which have shown to increase energy and decrease fatigue. What’s more, these nuts are also packed with omega-3 fats which boost cardiovascular health and energy levels. Nuts also contain carbs and protein which boost energy, too.
Seeds are also becoming a popular food source for energy. Seeds like chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 fats, and low levels of omega-3 fats are linked to increases in fatigue and tiredness. These fatty acids are also, as previously mentioned, easily stored by the body as an energy source. Even further, seeds contain a good amount of energy-enhancing fiber and carbs.