The best energy boosting snacks when you are flat and tired
It’s possible to eat yourself out of that mid-afternoon slump if you choose your snacks wisely.
We have all been guilty of reaching for a soft drink or a chocolate bar when we are feeling flat, and while these stimulants may help us feel momentary better, the truth is that they are unlikely to give us the energy we really need.
On the other hand, a nutritionally balanced snack that contains the right mix of key nutrients including protein for fullness and good quality carbs for a sustained energy release will not only give you the energy boost you are looking for but one that will be sustained over a couple of hours.
So if you routinely find yourself feeling flat, here are some of the best snacks to grab to give you the energy boost you are looking for.
For anyone who enjoys caffeine, don’t underestimate the power of a milk coffee when it is used as a filling snack. The milk offers protein and low GI carbs to help keep you full and satisfied, while the caffeine will boost your attention and energy for at least 60 minutes.
If you are avoiding caffeine later in the day, you can always opt for decaf. You will still find a warm, naturally sweet liquid much more satisfying than a sugary treat or energy drink.
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Peanut butter and banana
While it is easy to reach for a piece of fruit for a quick sweet hit, a much smarter option is to combine nutrient-rich fruits like bananas or apples with a little protein to help keep you fuelled for a couple of hours.
Specifically, wholegrain corn cakes or brown rice cakes topped with nut spread and banana is a delicious, nutritionally balanced snack that will help boost your energy levels for at least a couple of hours.
Cheese and crackers
For many people, cheese is considered a rather indulgent food but a closer look at the nutritional profile will reveal that it is a nutrient-rich wholefood that can make a well-balanced snack when teamed with wholegrain crackers or fruit.
Or even better, opt for cottage cheese which is exceptionally high in protein and low in fat. Goat’s cheese or feta are options that can be enjoyed with chopped vegetables for a delicious, protein and calcium-rich snack.
Choc fruit treats
Chocolate is a popular go-to when it comes to needing an energy boost, but the sweetness of milk chocolate, in particular, can mean that it is exceptionally easy to overeat.
On the other hand, if you have a little spare time, teaming some melted dark chocolate with your favourite fruit, which can then be served cold or even frozen, combines fibre rich fruit with a little sweetness. It makes an energy-boosting snack that is a million times healthier than a chocolate bar.
When we think of energy foods, we are often drawn to sweet treats but unfortunately, biscuits, cakes, lollies and chocolate only tend to offer the energy hit we need for an hour if we are lucky.
A tasty sweet treat that can feel just as indulgent is a yummy frozen yoghurt mix of fruits, nuts and seeds. A lot like ice-cream but with a lot more protein, a frozen yoghurt mix will give you all the sweetness and mental boost you need minus much of the fat and calories.
Susie Burrell is a dietitian and nutritionist and holds a Master’s degree in coaching psychology. Susie is the resident dietitian on Channel 7’s Sunrise and has been a dietitian for more than 20 years.