When that afternoon slump hits, it’s tempting to reach for something sweet for a quick boost of energy. However, a sugary snack will do nothing for your focus or that sluggish feeling. In fact, eating sweets will cause your blood sugar to spike and then quickly plummet, leaving you wanting more sugar. Choosing a snack with fiber, protein and healthy fats can promote maximum satiety, that satisfied feeling of being full after eating. Fiber + Protein + Fat is often referred to as the energy equation for good reason, when combined, these nutrients will keep you full for several hours, help you maintain a healthy blood sugar and provide you with the energy you need to get through your day. Try one of these snacks the next time you feel your hunger rising and your energy waning:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Yogurt: Mix 1 tablespoon of plain cocoa powder along with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into a 5.3-ounce container of Greek yogurt. Optional: flavor with 1 teaspoon of honey for added sweetness. Benefits: Greek yogurt provides 15 grams of protein and 180 mg of calcium. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fat. Cocoa powder with 72% cacao, contains iron, zinc, and selenium; minerals that help your body function and give the immune system a boost. Cocoa powder is also a good source of theobromine, which helps to reduce inflammation.
Naturally Sweetened Cottage Cheese: Mix 1/2 cup of plain cottage cheese with 1/2 cup no added sugar applesauce (try the kind from Slammers with 7 grams of protein in each pouch) and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Benefits: Cottage cheese provides 12 grams of protein, along with 10% of the daily requirement for calcium. Applesauce with no added sugar will provide a serving of fruit and if you get the kind with added protein, you’ll boost the protein content of this delicious snack. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar.
Guacamole Eggs: Boil two eggs and scoop out yolk when cooled. Fill egg cavity with guacamole. Benefits: Eggs are a good source of protein, fat and contain potassium. They make a great snack because they are portable. Adding guacamole adds a healthy dose of satisfying monounsaturated fat.
Banana Nutter: Top a rice cake, such as the square ones from Lundberg Farms, with 1 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter and half of a sliced banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Benefits: The nut butter will provide protein and a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. The banana is not only a good source of potassium, but also provides vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar.
Cheesy Popcorn: Combine 2 cups of air popped popcorn with a pinch of kosher salt. Add a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast or grated parmesan cheese. Benefits: Popcorn is a whole grain food that provides some fiber. Adding nutritional yeast will give the popcorn a nutty flavor and a boost of B vitamins such as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate and Vitamin B12
Original Flavor Triscuit Thins and Cheese (serving size 15 Triscuit thins or 6 of the original square Triscuit crackers with 1 stick of string cheese). Benefits: Triscuits are whole grain. They contain just three ingredients, whole wheat flour, canola oil and salt. One serving offers 3-4 grams of fiber. The string cheese is perfectly portioned and provides fat to promote satiety and help slow down the digestion of the carbohydrates from the crackers. This pairing will help curb hunger better than if the crackers or cheese were eaten alone.
Seapoint Farms Roasted Edamame (single serve packet 0.79 ounces). Benefits: This is a crunchy, satisfying snack that provides 4 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein per serving. It is perfectly portioned, and the individual package makes is easily portable.
Hummus with Veggies: Pair 1/3 cup of hummus with baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber, or red bell pepper strips. Benefits: This plant based snack is simple to put together. It offers roughly 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and healthy fats to satisfy your hunger. Pairing it with vegetables will increase the total fiber and help you reach the recommendation of 2-3 cup of vegetables per day.
Plain Greek Yogurt: Add 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen unsweetened berries Benefits: There are 15 grams of protein in Greek yogurt and 180 mg of calcium. Berries are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Mixed Nuts (1-ounce) Benefits: Nuts are an excellent snack because they are shelf stable and portable. A single serving offers approximately 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber along with16 grams of heart healthy fat. Nuts are also a good source of vitamin E and magnesium.
Content submitted by Janyce Gately – MS, RD, LDN, CHWC