What we eat during the day can either brighten our moods and energy levels, or plummet them, leading to more fatigue and less productivity. Thus, knowing which foods to eat to gain energy and satiety during the day can be beneficial for performing at our absolute bests and feeling awake, energized and focused when we need to be.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on optimizing their energy levels and wellbeing during the day and on being more creative and productive at work. Much influence comes from diet, as the foods and snacks we consume can impact our bodies and minds and either provide energy, nourishment and mental awareness, or can make us sluggish, unsatisfied and even moody. Thus, picking out healthy snacks is a great way to maintain sustainable energy levels and fight hunger pangs when we are really trying to buckle down at the office and get to work. Here are 11 foods that are filling and delicious that will provide us with great, long-lasting energy and happiness points! Carry with you in your bag for on the go, staff in your office for easy access, or frequent a healthy eatery near your office so that you never have to fear reaching for the office candy bowl instead due to a lack of yummy, satisfying and nutritious snacks.
1. Pistachio Nuts
High in fiber and complex carbohydrates which are also filling, pistachios, as well as other nuts, are rich in Vitamin B6, which is key for "the production of white blood cells that support proper immune function, the synthesis of neurotransmitters and amino acids, and the conversion of muscle glycogen for energy," say nutritional experts at Alaska Seafood, over email with me. Fish is also rich in B6!
Canned, fresh, packaged, made into jerky, the list goes on! There are so many ways to eat and enjoy salmon, as well as other fish, which are high in Vitamin B12, a nutrient that "is important in red blood cell production. It also supports aerobic energy metabolism by maintaining hemoglobin to help with oxygen transport," advises Alaska Seafood.
3. Chia Seeds
"Ounce-for-ounce, chia seeds have more fiber than flax, and they expand as they absorb water in your stomach, both of which could explain why many people report feeling fuller, longer after eating them as compared to other foods. A fact supported by clinical studies," says Hunter Pechin, Brand Manager at Health Warrior, over email with me. Add to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal or homemade granola bars, or buy ready made bars.
Though not a food, water is so important for feeling full and energized in the day. "Water is essential for nutrient absorption and drinking sufficient amounts of water helps the body process and transport nutrients to cells throughout the body. If you are not drinking adequate amounts of water and are dehydrated, you are failing to absorb and distribute many essential nutrients. Further, it has been shown that a pH balanced body absorbs nutrients from foods and supplements more readily and assimilates vitamins and minerals at an optimal level when your internal pH is balanced," say nutritional experts at CORE water over email with Bustle.
"Beans are high in fiber," says Alicia Ward, VP of Marketing at Beanitos, over email with me. "Fiber rich foods take longer to digest and can help you extend your energy boost from the complex carbs in beans – giving you sustained energy. Beans have a low glycemic index to prevent insulin from spiking, which can keep your energy levels more constant," she explains.
Eating jerky is a great way to get in protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals, advises Steve McKee, co-founder of New Zealand Jerky, over email with me. "Many nutritionists have found that a mid-afternoon snack packed full of protein can improve your energy levels and mood. By regulating your blood sugar, protein helps you avoid mood swings (AKA feeling “hangry”) as well as anxiety or depression," he says." Plus, "protein rich foods help prevent weak and brittle hair," says Ward, which is always a plus, right?
7. Homemade Energy Balls
According to running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer, over email with me, making homemade protein, energy balls or bars at home can be great cost-effective and health wise. "Try making your own at-home protein and energy balls/bites from trail mix type ingredients with a bit of nut butter and oats. There are many great recipes online," she advises, as such nutrients and combinations are great for filling you up and providing energy.
8. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is incredibly high in protein, which can fill you up and boost energy levels. "Protein is an important component of every cell in the body, so it’s no wonder the vital macronutrient can provide a considerable boost of sustained energy. On the other hand, not consuming enough protein can be a primary reason for fatigue. A great way to start every day off with plenty of lasting energy is to eat a protein-packed breakfast each morning," advises Matt Lacasse, CEO & Cofounder of Birch Benders, over email with me. They recommend using Birch Benders Protein Pancake Mix to pair!
9. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, Collard greens and Swiss chard, are great for supplying nutrients and filling you up. “Leafy greens are my top favorite pick as the most versatile and nutrient dense food. You can include greens raw in a salad, added to smoothies, sautéed with some simple garlic and oil, and much more. They are one of the most nutrient rich vegetables and make you feel amazing,” says Elizabeth Stein, CEO and founder of Purely Elizabeth over email with me.
Oatmeal, fortified cereals, and whole grains are all rich in important nutrients to keep you going during the day, advises Stein. "As a macronutrient, the body needs a relatively large amount of protein providing for a substantial form of energy. Additionally, dietary fiber is a nutrient that can also help keep your body full faster throughout the day," she says, and recommends her Purely Elizabeth products, which contain vitamins, minerals, and omega 3s to nourish the body.
Seeds are packed with nutrients and protein, to keep you full longer and more alert, advises Go Raw CEO and founder Robert Freeland over email with me. He recommends watermelon seeds in particular, as they are "high in protein, leaving you feeling energetic and fuller, longer. The powerful nutrients locked inside each seed are activated during the sprouting process, rendering them an excellent source of not only protein, but also a good source of iron," he adds. "This is a great on-the-go option to satiate you and provide energy for hours on end."
When you notice your energy draining in the day, nosh on these terrific, easy snacks for instant energy, a lift in mood, and greater satiety to keep you more productive and mentally alert during the day. Perfect for office snacks, most are portable or can be stored easily, so there's no excuse to not reach for something healthy and start reaping the benefits as soon as possible.
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