Need a quick pick-me up? Here are my favorite healthy snacks for sustainable energy and battling the afternoon slump. These healthy picks are all plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. In other words, they’re all-natural bites that don’t contain any of the anti-nutrients that rob your body of energy and decrease your ability to concentrate. Here are the best things to eat to keep your mind sharp and brilliant, pronto.
1. Chia Seed Pudding
Skip the yogurt and enjoy chia seed pudding instead. Chia seeds were used by the Aztec and Mayan warriors for their energy enhancing and stamina-inducing properties. The chia seeds were so revered that the Aztecs offered them as gifts to the gods. The gift to you is a clear mind, improved mood, and consistent energy levels. Three tablespoons of chia seed have 12 grams of fiber, the same amount of protein as an egg, and more omega 3s than a piece of wild salmon.
How to prepare it: Simply soak 3 tablespoons of chia seeds in 12 oz of unsweetened almond milk. Stir vigorously and let sit for 15 minutes. The chia seeds swell up to 10 times their size and create a tapioca-type of consistency. Add fresh berries and coconut flakes for an extra burst of vitality.
2. Green Juice
The ultimate energy booster, green vegetable juices are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, magnesium, and potassium. Since no digestion is needed, your cells instantly gobble up these nutrients, making you feel energized and alive.
How to prepare it: Make sure the green juice is from vegetables and not a fruit juice disguised as a green juice. Make sure the carbohydrate content below 20 grams, otherwise the juice is too sugary and may cause blood sugar fluctuations and energy drops.
3. Brazil Nuts with Cacao Nibs and Coconut Flakes
Replace your trail mix with this metabolism-boosting blend. Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium, which helps boost the metabolism for greater energy levels. Cacao nibs have more antioxidant flavonoids than any other food, plus they add a delicious hint of chocolate to the mix. Coconut flakes keep your energy levels up for longer. This blend is a perfect afternoon pick-me up.
How to prepare it: Chop up four Brazil nuts and add 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs and 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes to the mix. Enjoy!
4. Flax Crackers with Honey
Skip the afternoon cookie and dip raw flax crackers into honey instead. You’ll get a touch of sweetness without the addition of butter and sugar used to make a cookie. Flax seed crackers are low in insulin-spiking carbohydrates, which can leave you feeling depleted and fatigued. Flax crackers are high in fiber and omega 3s which help to activate energy levels.
How to prepare it: Dip 10 mini-flax crackers into 1 teaspoon of raw honey or spread the raw honey onto a large flax cracker. Just make sure the flax crackers are raw since heat destroys the delicate omega 3 oils in the flax seed.
5. Curried Chickpeas
Chickpeas are rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are both nutrients required for the production of energy molecules. Adding curry to the chickpeas not only gives a warming spicy flavor to the snack, but also an extra boost of antioxidants to protect your cells from free-radical damage. Damaged cells equal fatigue and malaise.
How to prepare it: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain a can of chickpeas and rinse in water. Dry with paper towels. Toss the chickpeas in 1 teaspoon of curry powder. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a roasting pan. Add chickpeas to the roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Makes 2 servings.
6. Toasted Nori Wraps
Craving something salty? Skip the chips and have toasted nori instead. Nori is the sea vegetable used in sushi and has that “I want more” umami flavor. It is also the richest dietary source of iodine, which helps to activate the thyroid hormone so that food is converted to energy versus fat.
How to prepare it: Eat them on their own, just like a chip. Try SeaSnax or GimMe toasted nori sheets.
7. Fresh Figs
Figs are rich in iron, which is an essential energy nutrient. Without sufficient iron in the body, you’ll feel fatigued and struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Eat the figs whole or serve them as a dessert drizzled in aged balsamic vinegar.
How to prepare it: If you can’t find fresh figs, use dried figs, but keep the portion size limited to four. Any more than that and you’ll start to stimulate blood sugar fluctuations and corresponding energy dips.