When your energy is low, you might instinctively reach for a cup of coffee or a handful of candy to provide a quick boost. The desire to reach for caffeine, chips, or cookies when we want a pick-me-up is understandable. But too much caffeine can deliver the opposite of a jolt. And quickly digesting carbohydrates, such as sweet beverages, white bagels, pretzels, and candy — which give a quick hit of pleasure because they boost serotonin, the brain chemical that helps regulate mood — will cause your blood sugar to spike and give you a short-lived high that ends in a crash.
“What's more,” says Kari Kooi, RD, of Houston Methodist Weight Management Center in Texas, “the subsequent drop in blood sugar increases cravings for more energy-zapping foods.” She says that energy boosting snacks are those that are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. “When you eat this combination,” she says, “the energy from the food is like a time-released capsule that’s slowly being released into the bloodstream and steadily keeping you fueled for hours to come.”
That’s the main building block of a healthy, energy-boosting snacking strategy: foods with zero or hardly any additives. Foods like nuts, plain yogurt, and whole grains will keep your snacks low in calories and high in satisfying fuel.
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