I’m not sure if it’s an American thing, a Southern thing, or just a Kaitlin thing, but this girl loves to snack. I’m like a little grandma — I keep a bag packed at all times with healthy snacks to keep myself from getting off track. Because seriously, eating healthy is hard enough without being hungry on top of it.
But what do you do when 10:30 a.m. hits and it’s too early for lunch but you’ve already eaten your breakfast? What about around 3 p.m. in the afternoon when your stomach starts to grumble and you look at it in fear, knowing it’ll be several hours before you’ll be home with a heaping dinner plate in front of your face?
You have a few options. You could hit up the vending machine and load up on sugar and soda, leading to an inevitable crash within a few hours
We’ve put together a list of our favorite healthy energy snacks to get you from clean meal to clean meal without any detours or diversions.
12 Healthy Energy Snacks
Some people consider popcorn healthy and some people don’t. For me personally, I think it’s fine in small amounts, especially if you’re choosing a brand that doesn’t have a lot of crazy ingredients and additives. The danger with popcorn comes in the serving size.
Pack a small bag of popcorn for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack that tastes good and will fill you up. Be sure you don’t do more than about a handful to keep your calories low.
2. A Good Protein Bar
Shopping for protein bars can be like dodging a land mine. So many of today’s options are absolute trash, filled to the brim with sugar. However, with some careful nutrition label sleuthing, you CAN find some healthy protein bar options. Protein bars are an excellent “snack” or meal replacement — they keep you full and satisfied and contain lots of protein and in some cases, lots of fiber. Ideally, you want to keep your sugars low to avoid a mid-day snooze fest.
Check out our article on our favorite healthy protein bars to help you get started.
3. Apples and Peanut Butter
Sugar in small amounts is not a bad thing, especially when it’s sugar from fruit combined with some filling peanut butter! Grab a small apple, cut it into slices and get to dipping/slathering depending on your peanut butter preferences for a morning snack to keep you full and satisfied while staying focused on the tasks at hand.
Berries are great for a little boost. They taste great, are packed full of antioxidants and are relatively low-sugar, meaning you won’t eat them and come crashing down a few hours later. If you need a larger or more well-balanced snack, try throwing a boiled egg or a few slices of deli meat in as well to keep you full till dinner time.
5. Raw Veggies with Hummus
Raw vegetables are packed with nutrients, vitamins, good carbs and more. Accompany them with a little bit of hummus for a little additional protein and fiber to keep you full for a perfect healthy energy snack.
6. Deli Meat
Looking for a quick protein pick me up? Look no further than a slice (or two) of your favorite deli meat.
This is one of my favorite go-to snacks, but be careful when selecting your deli meat. Choose lean meats like turkey over ham and also select organic, nitrate-free meat whenever possible. You can read more about the health risks associated with nitrates and processed meat here.
7. A Handful of Nuts
You can make your own mix or grab your favorite option from the grocery store. Whether you prefer salted, roasted or flavor-enhanced nuts or a more plain Jane variety, nuts are packed with healthy fats. Grab some almonds, cashews, pistachios or Brazil nuts to help you avoid break room donuts.
8. A Mini Antipasto Platter
It’s easy to make your own antipasto snack. Grab a few olives, a few pickles, a few cubes of your favorite cheese and viola, you’ve got a sophisticated little snack. This would be perfect to get your energies levels up an hour or so before you hit the gym.
Want to get really fancy? Add some red pepper slices, artichoke hearts or cherry tomatoes to make all your cubicle-mates jealous.
9. Carrots with Guacamole
Guacamole is a direct descendent of the avocado and we all know there is nothing better in this world than a fresh avocado.
You can make your own guac with some onion, a little salt and pepper and a splash of lime juice or buy the snack-sized portions at your local grocery stores. Guacamole is packed full of good healthy fats that’ll make your hair shiny and your tummy happy!
10. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a great snack for when you’re feeling a little drowsy, but beware — most dried fruit contains a lot of natural and added sugar, so you should keep your portion sizes VERY small. If you choose to enjoy dried fruit as a healthy energy snack, stick with less than a handful to avoid a sugar crash later on in the day.
11. Almond Butter
Almond butter is delicious and even comes in little serving size packets now, meaning it’s easier than ever to utilize it as a healthy snack while you’re at work or on the go. It’s cheaper than a candy bar — most packets usually run for less than a $1 each.
12. Coconut Flakes
Coconut shavings or coconut flakes are a great healthy energy snack for any time of day. High in good fats and low in carbs and sugar, you can keep a bag in your car or in your gym bag to tide over any sort of crazy cravings or to keep you full between meals.