Has your work day ever made you feel like you need an afternoon power nap just to make it to 5:30? Food is your body’s fuel, and in order to keep going at the office all day long, it’s important to have some high energy foods within easy reach to combat that afternoon slump (not only the typical fruit, energy bars and green tea, which are great for boosting your energy level, but won't fill you up!).
Look for high-energy foods that contain nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, natural sugars and high-protein foods, and beware of processed carbohydrates, like cookies, as carbohydrates will give a quick, serotonin-boosting high because you’ll be coming down hard long before the workday ends.
But wait — isn’t it best to limit snacking so you don’t ruin your dinner and unintentionally gain weight? In short, no, because studies show that healthy snacking on high-energy foods improves your overall health by boosting your energy and brain power, reducing cravings, improving your mood and fighting weight gain.
Here are seven high energy snacks packed with healthy fats, vitamins and other nutrients your body needs keep going strong all-day long.
Nuts: 160 calories per serving (raw, mixed nuts)
Nuts are a slow-burning food that can provide energy over a long period of time. In addition to being a high-energy snack, nuts can be good for heart health (the no. 1 killer of women). Nuts are also high in calories, so make sure you’re aware of how much you’re eating and consider buying prepackaged nuts for easy portion control.
Chickpeas: 268 calories per serving
The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a type of legume that are packed with plant-based nutrients and offer a number of health benefits. They can help control blood sugar levels, support weight loss, improve digestion and protect against heart disease and cancer.
Edamame: 189 calories per serving
Another member of the legume family, edamame is a boiled green soybean harvested before it reaches fully maturity. It provides essential amino acids our bodies cannot produce themselves and are considered a “healthily fat,” and it's among the other energy-boosting foods on this list because it can seriously amp energy levels. They’re also high in protein, can help lower cholesterol, won’t raise your blood sugar, are rich in vitamins and minerals and may even reduce the risk of breast cancer, menopausal symptoms and bone loss. How about that for a healthy diet?
Hard boiled eggs: 80 calories per serving
High-protein foods that are good for you? Look no further than hard-boiled eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are easy to make (or buy pre-boiled) and store for later, and new research has revelated that there is no evidence of eggs increasing risks for heart attacks as thought in the past. Hard-boiled eggs are great for eyes, hair and nails, help maintain your brain cell membranes (which are key to brain function) and can help you manage your weight as a lean protein. They're high-protein foods that are perfect for those looking to work on high-protein diets that'll boost energy levels.
Peanut butter is considered a “good” fat, meaning its full of the heart-healthy monosaturated fat. This also means it can help you lose weight and maintain energy throughout the day with its vitamins and minerals. Research also shows that eating peanuts (and peanut butter) can decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Cheese: 72-339 calories per serving (varies by type)
Eat more cheese. Cheese is full of butyrate, which is an anti-inflammatory fat critical to keeping your digestive system healthy and keeping your energy level up. Butyrate is also linked to supporting weight loss, protecting against cancer and soothing inflammatory gut diseases.
Dark Chocolate: 170 calories per serving
You read that right. If you eat dark chocolate, it not only has the magical power to boost your mood (am I right, ladies?!), but can give you a burst of energy and protect against free radicals by providing antioxidants, improving your heart health, cholesterol, blood sugar and pressure, boosting brain function and can even protect against cancer. Did I really have to tell you to snack on chocolate though?
These are just a few energy-boosting foods to improve your office diet and give you an energy boost. What other energy-dense foods do you eat to give yourself an energy boost? What energy-dense foods do you recommend as office friendly?