Snacks that Fuel: Eating to Boost Energy Levels

Image courtesy of Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s face it, we all have busy schedules and can often fall into poor diet and sleep patterns, which can lead to not only bad overall health, but that “I want to collapse my head on my desk” tired feeling a few hours after your lunch break.

Your body is a machine, and like a machine  it needs healthy, clean fuel to run on all day. While almost all foods have some sort of value in terms of energy, many are just band-aids, or quick fixes, that may provide temporary relief, but will make you crash and feel more tired later in the day. Examples of these are fast foods, candy, soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks.

In order to boost your energy you need to eat to boost your metabolism. One of the best ways to do this is by eating more meals and snacks containing healthy foods throughout day, rather than eating three  large meals each day. It is also important to eat small, quality snacks in between these meals to keep fuel levels high at all times.

However, busy schedules makes it tough for many to start on a good eating regime and stick with it. A helpful tip is to schedule your meals a day in advance and prepare how and when you are going to eat them, while also balancing out the other aspects of your schedule.

Without proper fuel, your body’s energy is drained faster and you become tired more easily. This can be a real downer and cause you not to do things that may be of interest to you and decrease how effective you are in daily activities. Lack of energy can also slow reaction time and impair thinking, which can lead to many other serious issues. We have compiled a list of  snacks that will boost your energy and keep you going all day long.

SNACKS THAT FUEL

FIBER & GRANOLA BARS: There are many fiber and granola bar options out there and they are perfect for snacks due to their size and convenience. Many provide high quality protein and are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which burn for clean energy. To top it off, they are mostly low in fat, saturated fat, and sodium.

WALNUTS/ALMONDS: Almonds are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, magnesium, protein and provide an entire serving of calcium in only seven nuts. Studies have shown that eating almonds can help lower LDL cholesterol, fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, and be an aid in weight loss. They can be easily stored in plastic bags as a healthy, portable, on-the-go snack.

GREEK YOGURT: This tasty snack contains up to twice the amount of protein as other yogurts, and doesn’t necessarily have more calories. Loaded with potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, zinc, and vitamin b5, it is a perfect pre-workout snack when you need a bigger boost.

FRUITS: Bananas, apples, oranges, blueberry, kiwi, pineapple: you name it, any fruit is a smart choice when it comes to fueling your body. Fruits contain large amounts of natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are great to pack as a side with your meal. On top of everything, they taste good and are extremely refreshing. The good carbs and fiber in fruit are great for a quick boost of energy.

GREEN TEA: The benefits of green tea are endless. Green tea has been shown to prevent several types of gastrointestinal cancers, improve outcomes of breast and prostate cancer, lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol, and burn fat while increasing your metabolism. In addition, it also is a terrific antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. The combination of caffeine and theanine in green tea gives you energy while keeping the nervous system in harmony to avoid the jitters that can come with drinking coffee. Green tea can be served hot or cold, and should be drank earlier in the day to avoid trouble sleeping.

AVOCADO: Eating an avocado, one of the “super foods”,  can provide a powerful boost to your day. The perfect amount of monounsaturated fats are easily burned for healthy, clean energy. Avocado is rich in fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, and B-vitamins. They are also a great source of potassium, having twice the amount that is found in a banana.

EGGS: Not everyone has the time to cook eggs on the skillet every morning, which is why hard boiling your eggs in advance and packing them in plastic bags is a great idea.The high-quality protein in an egg is the perfect way to start the day on a good “metabolic” foot. Egg yolk is also a rich source of choline, a nutrient that we produce ourselves to some extent but should also supplement through our diets. Research has shown that more than 90% of Americans are choline-deficient.

ALL-NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER: Peanut butter is one of the go-to choices people looking for a quick, hearty serving of protein. However, being packed with protein isn’t the only good thing about this delicious snack, as it is also provides a quality serving of  healthy fats, potassium, and fiber — all energy boosting nutrients.

GRAPEFRUIT: This tart and tangy snack is perfect for the busy person, since one grapefruit can be cut in half and provide two servings. One grapefruit serving contains 73.3% of your daily vitamin C value and is also rich in vitamin A, fiber, potassium, vitamin b5, and vitamin b1, which all have terrific energy boosting properties. Grapefruit is also ranked among foods highest in antioxidant activity.

ORANGE JUICE: It is no coincidence that a big glass of OJ is a staple for the morning breakfast. Orange juice is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, natural sugars, and has an anti-inflamatory effect after eating a meal high in fat and carbs. Drinking two glasses of orange juice every day can decrease the chance of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

1/2 TURKEY SANDWICH ON 100% WHOLE WHEAT: Not only do you get the benefits of protein, b-vitamins, and low saturated fat levels from turkey, but you treat your body to a solid serving of whole grains, which are vital for energy and overall health. However, make sure the bread you buy is 100% whole grain, since breads labeled “made with whole grain”, “multigrain”, and “whole grain” don’t have the same nutritient value.

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP: A warm bowl of broccoli cheddar soup is a perfect complement to any meal, and it tastes delicious. Broccoli is loaded with all kinds of nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, and fiber, making it one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Why do you think our parents always pushed us to finish our broccoli?  Eating broccoli cheddar soup is a good way to get a serving of both vegetables and dairy in one bowl.

SPINACH SALAD: Re-think your decision next time you are reach into your refrigerator for that bag of iceberg lettice. When it comes to salad, the rule of thumb is “the darker the green the better for you.” Spinach, like other dark greens, has powerful antioxidant and disease fighting properties due to its richness in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene has also been shown to decrease the risk of cataracts, improve vision, and fight cancer and heart disease. Spinach is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium. If served warm, it is important not to overcook the spinach, as it may lose some of its vitamin C.