Need Some Energy? Try These 5 Healthy Snacks

Nobody likes that dreaded afternoon slump, especially when you simultaneously have to deal with demanding activities at work. While you may be tempted to reach for a can of diet coke or a bag of chips, here are a few snacks that can give you an energy boost without compromising your health.  

1. Lemon-peppermint water

In many cases, we end up mindlessly snacking as a response to hunger when in reality, all we needed to do was quench our thirst. "Water is always wonderful for hydrating, and sometimes we actually mistake mild dehydration for hunger," noted Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian and author.

While dehydration can certainly lead to fatigue, studies have also shown that it can cause a decline in mental performance. "Citrus and peppermint will give an extra perk to regular water since studies show that both scents can make you feel more energized," Largeman-Roth recommended.

2. Soup

Soup is not only easy in terms of preparation, it can also be a great way to get some protein into your diet in the form of beans, lentils or chicken, etc.

"I pretty much always have soup in my test kitchen fridge or freezer and find that it makes a filling, comforting and healthy snack," said cookbook author Ellie Krieger. "Eaten in a mug-sized portion, it is just the right amount of wholesome food that provides a nice even release of energy to get me through until dinner."

3. Air-popped popcorn

Air-popped popcorn free of any types of flavoring can make for the perfect light snack, containing only around 30 calories per cup. The same cup also provides you with 1 gram of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 1.2 grams of fiber.

The fiber content is helpful in maintaining steady blood sugar. And while the quantity is not too high, popcorn also contains some B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, B6 and folate) which assist in the conversion of food into energy.

4. Hummus and vegetables

"This is a great way to get more veggies in your day," said registered dietitian Dr. Rebecca Clyde. Carrots are the most popular choice but you can also consider bell peppers, sweet potatoes, leafy vegetables, and many more.

Made from chickpeas, olive oil, and other such ingredients, hummus is a tasty yet healthful alternative to the likes of mayonnaise. "When dipped in a delicious and protein-rich hummus, they’re bound to satisfy your hunger and keep you energized through the day," Clyde added.

5. Almonds

Almonds are a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight, according to Dr. Richard Mattes, a distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University. While packed with selenium, vitamin E, and omega-3s, they also come with unsaturated fats and high fiber content which contribute to satiety (a feeling of fullness).

With further relevance to energy, almonds also contain magnesium and important B vitamins. You can consider eating a few of them between meals or even adding them to a cup of plain Greek yogurt if preferred.