Ah, the dreaded afternoon energy lull. This is the time of day when most of us feel tired and zapped of energy, and when many of us reach for a quick fix, like a sugary treat from the vending machine or a caffeinated, high-calorie drink. Unfortunately, these foods do us more harm than good; not only are they bad news for our midsections, but they might make us crash even harder once their effects wear off.
The good news is, there are healthy afternoon snacks that will boost your energy without expanding your waistline. Plus, they’re portable to boot.
1. Perfect Parfait
One of our favorite recipes to energize your afternoon is a yummy yogurt parfait. Here are the simple ingredients:
- 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup granola
Make alternating layers of berries and yogurt and sprinkle the granola on top. Or if just mix all the ingredients together and chow down. The protein in the yogurt will help you to feel satisfied until dinner. The berries add vitamins B12 and C which are great for natural energy and a healthy immune system. Granola adds a bit of a crunchy texture to your snack, which can also make it more satisfying. Now doesn’t that sound better than a fancy, overpriced coffee or a stale donut?
Almonds are a great source of fibre and protein, and if you buy them dry roasted, they contain very little oil and no added salt or sugar. Nuts are easily stored in a desk drawer for a quick, convenient and healthy afternoon snack idea. Not a fan of almonds? Cashews, walnuts and pecans are all delicious options.
3. Kale Chips
Instead of the store-bought stuff, why not make your own kale chips? Tear up pieces of kale, lightly drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle with your preferred seasonings (examples: nutritional yeast, salt and pepper), and bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at about 350 degrees. Pack the chips for on-the-go snacks or picnic chip-substitutes. They contain no trans fats, and they’re gluten-free, vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. These are one of our favourite healthy snack ideas that you can take with you for a salty, savoury treat.
4. Chocolate Milk
As long as you stick with one serving of a lower-sugar version, chocolate milk can give you a dose of protein and calcium and boost your energy. Another benefit to drinking chocolate milk is that it helps to keep you hydrated, which is one very common reason adults suffer from afternoon fatigue. Plus, it satisfies any chocolate lovers craving! If you want to really up the health ante, make your own at home by melting semi-sweet chocolate completely in milk (almond, soy or organic cow’s milk, your choice), and letting it chill overnight.
5. Green Protein Shake
Light and loaded with vitamins, fibre and protein, these green protein smoothies are all leafy-vegetable based and packed full of protein — perfect for after your lunchtime workout, for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
6. Chia Seed Pudding
Delicious for breakfast or as a snack, this vegan-friendly, dairy-free and gluten-free breakfast packs a protein punch and will keep you feeling full throughout the day. Try mixing 1/4 cup of chia seeds, 1 cup of coconut milk and 1/2 tablespoon of honey in a small mason jar. Let it chill and set in the fridge overnight. When it’s firm, top it with fruit or nuts, and enjoy a delicious coconut chia seed pudding on the go.
7. Hummus And Veggies
Pair delicious and easy-to-transport baby carrots, celery, cucumber or baby tomatoes (there are no wrong answers here!) with two tablespoons of hummus for a snack rich in complex carbs and healthy fats.
8. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is different than traditional yogurt; it contains more protein and less fat, and is less processed. The taste is a bit tart but that can easily be balanced by adding your favorite fruit or a drizzle of honey. There are even frozen Greek yogurt bars that are a quick, easy and healthy afternoon treat that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized. Just make sure they contain minimal ingredients and no added sugar.
9. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bites
When a chocolate craving strikes, there is no reason to throw your clean eating and diet plan to the wind. “Indulge” with chocolate chip cookie dough protein bites and stay on track. You’ve never had a chocolate chip cookie as healthy as this bite.
Edamame is a great afternoon energy booster and contains lots of healthy fibre and protein. You can find these soybeans at the market already roasted, or you can easily roast them yourself with a dash of olive oil, black pepper and sea salt. A serving is about a ¼ cup.