Between home, kids and blog, there’s always something pulling at your sleeve that needs to be taken care of. And we all know it when it comes – that moment in the afternoon when all your energy is just spent.
Going back to bed for a power nap is not an option!
The standard mom go-to for a quick pick-me-up is caffeine, and a lot of us have a tendency to reach for something sweet, too. I joke a lot about needing my caffeine fix, but too much caffeine or sugar isn’t doing you any good.
Now, I’m not one of those people who stands on a soapbox preaching about the sins of processed sugar – but when you’re looking for an effective afternoon pick-me-up, pure refined sugar is not the best choice. Sure, it’ll give you a quick rush of energy – but that sugar high is always followed by a hard crash that leaves you feeling more drained than before.
There are much better snack choices out there to help you get through your energy slump – here are 10 options that are quick, easy and actually good for you:
1 – Roasted Edamame – Tasty and crunchy, edamame has complex carbs, protein, healthy fats and fiber – everything you need to recharge your energy levels, and keep you going until meal time. Check out this post with 3 ways to flavor roast your edamame. You can make it ahead and store it in a airtight jar for up to 5 days.
2 – Hard Boiled Egg and Whole Wheat Toast – This is one of my go-to afternoon snacks – it’s quick and easy, and tides me over for hours. I boil a dozen eggs at a time, then keep them in the fridge for snacking or to add to salads. Again, it’s the combination of protein, fats and complex carbs that will make you feel satisfied and boost your energy level. Click this link to find the secret to perfectly boiled eggs every time. Hate peeling eggs? Watch this video!
3 – Greek Yogurt and Berries- Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, meaning you’ll get longer lasting energy without the sugar spike and crash. Berries are one of the superfoods – sure, they have sugar (fructose), but unlike the unhealthy sugar rush you get from candy or cookies, berries have fiber to help you feel full and increase the time it takes your body to digest them. The protein in the yogurt also slows down sugar absorption, so your energy boost is more of a long arc instead of a sudden spike.
4 – Veggies and Hummus – Vegetables have good carbs, while hummus provides the protein. While everyone else is eating carrots and celery, you can liven your snack up with green and red pepper slices, snow peas, or broccoli. Let your kids see you enjoying it, tell them it’s “for grownups” and maybe they’ll want some too!
5 – Nuts and nut butters – Nuts and nut butters are a super source of protein and healthy fats – just make sure you stick with the natural stuff, no sugar added. Better yet, make your own nut butter and know exactly what’s in it. Spread a little on a whole grain cracker or on a slice of apple – or make a good old fashioned PB&J. It’s a perfect afternoon pick-me-up snack that will keep you energized until dinner.
6 – Bananas – This is my go to fruit, they’re great for moms who need more energy. Easy to carry anywhere because they come in their own package! Plus, because they’re rich in potassium and B-vitamins, bananas help your body keep blood sugar levels stable. My favorite afternoon snack? A banana and peanut butter sandwich with a little honey on whole grain bread. YUM.
7 – Smoothies – You know I couldn’t leave smoothies off a list like this, right? I like to slice up papayas, strawberries and bananas, put them in individual sized plastic freezer bags and keep them frozen for ready to go smoothies. Add a little yogurt and enough juice or water to blend – you can toss in peanut butter or protein powder if you’d like. Or, use up last night’s leftovers by making a sweet potato smoothie – Healthy and delicious, and you won’t have any trouble keeping up with the kids after this one 😉
8 – Cold Cereal – It’s not just for breakfast! But do be sure to choose a low sugar, high fiber cereal – Kashi GoLean Crunch is my favorite (and they didn’t even pay me to say that!). Use your favorite milk – cow, almond, whatever floats your boat. All the good stuff you need for more energy, right in a bowl.
9 – Cheese and Crackers – Choose whole grain crackers and a mini Babybel if you need help with portion control – I know when it comes to cheese, I have a tendency to over do it! It’s a perfect little snack, and you know cheese makes any day seem better.
10 – No Bake Energy Bites – I can hear you now – “But, Kelly – where’s the chocolate??” If it’s one of those days where you just have to have a little chocolate, then you’re going to love these No Bake Almond Granola Bites from Sandra at A Dash of Sanity – packed full of energy, with the touch of chocolate you’re craving. Make them ahead, and store in the fridge or freezer for when you need that quick little pick-me-up.
If you’re looking for a bit of energy during the day, remember the rule – lean protein and complex carbs with some fiber is the magic combination. The carbs provide energy while the protein makes sure it’s long lasting – and the fiber helps you feel full. Now tell me – what’s your favorite quick energy boosting snack?