15 of the Best Energy Snacks, Minus the Crash
You are at work, trying to power through those last few hours. Then, the inevitable happens. Around 2 or 3 p.m., you hit that wall - the dreaded mid-afternoon crash. You are basically running on empty. In fact, you really feel like you could go for a nap right about now. Yet, there are still a couple or more hours left in your work day. The struggle is real.
Experts claim that eating every 3-4 hours keeps these crashes at bay. It keeps your blood sugar levels stable. This means you avoid those sugar crashes.
You also want to make sure that what you eat doesn’t cause a sudden spike, then crash. In other words, you want your snacks or meals every 3-4 hours to consist of a nice balance between carbs, proteins, and fats.
Too many carbs and you will face another crash. Why? Carbs provide an immediate source of energy, dumping glucose into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar levels spike, your body releases insulin to break down glucose to be used or stored as energy. When you consume a food item high in sugar, your body tends to over-produce insulin to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Consequently, your blood sugar levels suddenly drop - leaving you feeling tired and yup, ready for that nap!
In other words, reaching for that mid-afternoon muffin might not be doing you much good. So, what should you be snacking on?
We’ve got you covered! Here are our top 15 healthy food suggestions for the best energy snacks to help combat those unwanted sugar crashes.
1. Almonds or Walnuts (or Both!)
Nuts won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike. But they can provide a steady balance. Almonds, in particular, are loaded with protein, fibre, and magnesium - giving you the energy to get through the rest of your day. Plus, these are easy to carry around. You can keep individual packs or Ziplock bags in your purse or desk drawers.
2. Trail Mix
Trail mix is stepping your nut game up to the next level. Make your own by adding dried fruit and other nuts. It can amp up the flavour, while still giving you that extra boost. An added bonus: Protein slows down the absorption of sugar. So even if you do have a few little sweet bits in your trail mix, the nut protein will help you out.
3. A Banana with Peanut Butter
This is a classic snack. And not to mention, who doesn’t love bananas or peanut butter? Throw the 2 together and you’ve got yourself a delicious combination. And if you aren’t really into bananas (okay, so some people might not like ‘em!)... Try apples or even a rice cake slathered in peanut butter. Peanut butter, like all nuts, is high in protein, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Eat up!
4. Greek Yogurt Parfait
The benefits of greek yogurt make it totally worth including in your diet. It’s a healthy food, with - you guessed it - lots of protein. It is also jam-packed with probiotics, keeping your gut happy and healthy. Throw some fruit and granola in it, or maybe even a touch of honey, and enjoy!
5. Veggies & Hummus
This is my go-to snack. It’s nutritious and filling. You won’t need much to feel satisfied. There are also an array of hummus flavours. Check out your local grocery store and mix it up with a new flavour every now and then to keep things interesting. Or even make your own. It’s fairly easy. All you need are chickpeas, maybe some tahini, olive oil, and spices.
6. Roasted Chickpeas
If you haven’t tried these yet, it’s a must. And if you are looking for a new healthy food to try, this one is it. Chickpeas are slow carbs - meaning they supply you with slow and steady energy for hours after they’re gone. They also can be a great addition if you are looking for snacks for weight loss. They are tasty, but keep you full.
Drain your can of chickpeas. You have the option to remove the outer chickpea layer (I’ve done it both ways - and found this way actually makes them more crunchy). Dry the chickpeas using a dishcloth or paper towel. Mix with vegetable oil, spices of your choice, and salt. Cook at 450 degrees in the oven for at least 15 minutes. Go for longer if you want that added crunch. And voila, a tasty and nutritious snack for the whole week!
7. Cheese & Crackers
You can never go wrong with a nicely portioned snack of cheese and crackers. People often bash cheese for its high-calorie content, but it does have loads of benefits too (just make sure you stick to proper portion sizes). It has a ton of protein, calcium, and Vitamin B12. Cheese ain’t all bad!
8. Cheese & Tomato Kabobs
A co-worker of mine brought these to a potluck and they were a huge hit. Add a basil leaf for even more flavour. Stick the cheese, then tomato, and then the basil leaf on a toothpick - And done! You’ve got an easy healthy food and energy-boosting snack.
9. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Despite all the hype around high-cholesterol and eggs, eggs are actually good for you. They are also a great snacking option for those mid-day slumps. Eggs have B12, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, iron, and more. You can’t go wrong with a quick hard-boiled egg snack. They are also pretty quick and painless to make ahead of time (Have you ever heard of anyone complain about the time it takes to boil their eggs? Exactly).
10. A Smoothie
Go for a smoothie of greek yogurt, veggies (such as spinach or avocado), a few berries, and a banana. Don’t overdo it on the fruit front or you may experience another drastic crash in the next few hours. You want something that’s going to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Remember, balancing carbs, proteins, and fats
11. Quinoa Bites
There are so many great combinations and recipes out there for quinoa bites. Do broccoli cheddar or spinach and feta cheese combos. You can also take this a step further and make quinoa egg muffins with veggies. Do a batch over the weekend. You’ll be set all week-long with a nutritious and easy-to-grab snack.
12. Mini Bean Salad
Beans are another rich protein source. Mix a combo of white, black and kidney beans together. If you’re getting really creative, add veggies like chopped onions. Blend together a mix of vinegar, olive oil, and spices for an easy dressing - I suggest looking up an actual recipe for this part since vinegar can overpower other flavours leaving you with a not-so-appetizing snack. But when done right, it’s a great pick-me-up.
13. Half a Chicken & Veggie Wrap or Sandwich
This is a balanced and quick snack for in the middle of your jam-packed
14. Celery Sticks & Peanut Butter
Easy. Quick. Nutritious. Great for on-the-go individuals, it takes next to no time to prep. And you’ll feel filled fast. Plus, that protein in peanut butter will give you that energy you need in slow doses.
Popcorn weighed down by butter is not recommended here. If you need the butter, add just a little bit. However, popcorn does have fibre and is low in calories. You’ll feel filled and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Don’t Experience That Afternoon Crash Ever Again!
… Maybe! Or hey, if you do, you now have a ton of go-tos to help you bounce back.
“You are what you eat” isn’t far from the truth. Eat and snack smart. And eating healthy food doesn’t have to be boring either. You now have 15 different options to choose from. Select yours and power-through your day feeling ready (and alive!) to tackle any obstacle that comes your way.