Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day because it gets your metabolism going but what happens a couple hours later when your energy starts to deplete yet it's not quite lunch time? You might reach for a coffee or other caffeinated drink but what you really need is a snack.
"Snacking keeps your metabolism revved up and is a great way to boost your energy", says Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. It is important that you don't just choose any ordinary snack, especially if you are fueling a workout. You need a snack with certain nutrients. Below are 5 snack suggestions to keep your body fueled:
- Fresh Fruit- Fruit is loaded with vitamin C, antioxidents, and fiber. It is great for when you need a little energy boost. Apples, bananas, and oranges are great options because they don't need refrigeration and can be carried around easily.
Recommended serving size: 1 piece of fresh fruit or 1 cup of chopped fruit or berries. Calories: 80-120, depending on the fruit.
- Yogurt- Yogurt is a great snack when you need a bigger energy boost like before a workout. The protein in yogurt will make you feel full. Dannon makes greek yogurt that is only 80 calories and tastes great! Mix it with 1/4 cup of oats and leave in the fridge overnight for an extra filling snack.
Recommended serving size: 1 6-ounce container of yogurt. Calories: 80-200 depending whether you choose fat-free or low-fat yogurt
- Popcorn- "Popcorn is a great snack because you get a lot of volume and fiber (which makes you feel full), and it's a whole grain, so it's healthier than a snack like pretzels." says Gidus. Microwave popcorn is super easy to prepare and even comes in single-serve bags which means you can eat the entire thing!
Recommended serving size: 1 single-serve package, low-fat microwave popcorn. Calories: 100
- Hummus and Veggies- Vegetables offer good carbs and fiber, plus loads of nutrients and vitamins, which help fill you up and add nutrition to your diet. Hummus adds some protein to increase the snack's staying power. Peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and carrots all taste great with hummus.
Recommended serving size: unlimited veggies and 1/4 cup hummus. Calories: About 100
- Apple and Peanut Butter- Who doesn't love peanut butter? Peanut butter contains unsaturated fats, nutrients that lower the levels of harmful cholesterol in your bloodstream, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease. You don't want to eat too much though so measure out 2 TBSP and spread it onto sliced apple for a great filling mid-meal snack.
Recommended serving size: 1 apple and 2 TBSP peanut butter. Calories: About 240