Super Snacks: 5 Best Snacks for Energy

Find out which snacks to reach for next time you need a burst of energy.

Some snacks enhance energy levels, while others leave us feeling depleted. The key to choosing a satisfying snack that will give you energy to burn is understanding how certain foods fuel energy.

Not all calories are equal. High-calorie processed foods can certainly provide a quick boost, but the result is fleeting and inevitably followed by a low period when blood sugar plummets. Energy-efficient snacks, on the other hand, balance high-quality calories with the nutrients needed to convert calories into enduring energy.

If that's not enough to appeal to your appetite, consider this: Increased energy naturally improves your mood. Try these five energy-enhancing snacks for a happy high.

1. Almonds


Almonds are packed with a potent combination of energy-enriching nutrients, including manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorus. Magnesium has been called a miracle mineral because of its multifunctional capabilities: In addition to being an essential part of more than 300 biological processes, magnesium aids in the production of energy, supports the immune system, improves sleep patterns, relaxes muscles, relieves stress and anxiety, and boosts mood.

The protein and fiber in almonds stabilizes blood sugar and slows digestion, which helps regulate energy, so you have steady reserves over time. Healthy fats like the kind found in almonds have been found to curb appetite and prevent overeating that can result in weight gain and its accompanying feelings of fatigue. The fat and fiber in almonds also contribute a feeling of satiety that helps prevent mindless snacking. For these reasons, almonds and other nuts are frequently recommended as part of a healthy diet for people looking to lose weight.

Rev it up: Spread almond butter on whole-grain crackers, or combine a handful of raw almonds with unsweetened dried fruit for a satisfying snack full of fiber and protein.

2. Yogurt


Yogurt is full of calcium, phosphorus, protein, tryptophan, molybdenum, and zinc. It's also a great source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Thanks to its liquid-like state, the nutrients in yogurt are assimilated quickly and easily during digestion, which means you get an immediate boost of energy. Yogurt's high protein content means that energy also has staying power.

Protein-rich snacks like yogurt can even pump up your probability for ditching the pounds. Since protein takes time to digest, you'll feel satisfied for longer -- which means less snacking and fewer calorie splurges throughout the day.

Yogurt also supplies the brain with tyrosine, an amino acid that boosts blood levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in a mood and mental boost. In a number of studies, tyrosine has also been effective at fighting fatigue.

Rev it up: Control your sugar intake by opting for unsweetened yogurt, and up the energy ante by adding chopped walnuts or ground flaxseed -- both will add protein and omega-3 fatty acids for extended energy. Sweeten to taste with a drizzle of raw honey or pure maple syrup.

3. Pineapple


Pineapple is one of summer's most popular fruits simply because it's so delicious. But if you want more reasons, look no further: A rich source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, fiber, and vitamin B6, this juicy fruit is a super snack for fueling energy.

Thanks to high levels of naturally occurring sugar (fructose), dietary fiber, and water, fresh pineapple is nature's equivalent of a kick in the pants. The carbohydrate-rich fructose breaks down quickly for an immediate energy boost, while the fiber slows digestion for long-lasting results. Pineapple's energy-extending capabilities don't stop there: Manganese and thiamin are both essential in energy production and help metabolize carbohydrates. And the vitamin B6 in pineapple supports immune system and cognitive function.

In terms of energy, digestion is one of the costliest bodily functions. The good news: Pineapple contains bromelain, which contains a number of enzymes that help improve digestion. In addition, eating fluid-filled foods like pineapple can help prevent dehydration, one of the most common culprits of zapped energy. Water is necessary for every bodily function, including converting calories into energy, and even a slight dip in fluids leads to physical and mental fatigue.

Rev it up: Pair pineapple with protein-rich yogurt or nonfat cottage cheese. The combination of carbs and protein is ideal for stable and enduring energy.

4. Whole-wheat snacks


Whole grains -- especially whole wheat -- are full of essential nutrients that energize both body and brain, including fiber; manganese; magnesium; iron; protein; carbohydrates; and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. Whole wheat is loaded with energizing B vitamins, which fight fatigue, maintain energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, improve sleep patterns, coordinate nerve and muscle activity, and boost mood.

Simple carbs like white bread and sweets provide a quick surge of energy, but the results are temporary. What's more, the energy comes courtesy of a spike in blood sugar; once that subsides, you'll feel depleted and fatigued. The complex carbohydrates in whole wheat, however, are absorbed more slowly, which translates into stable blood sugar levels for hours at a time and gradual, lasting energy.

Carbs are also full of tryptophan, the amino acid precursor to the feel-good chemical serotonin produced in the brain. Too much tryptophan can trigger a spike in serotonin that leads to drowsiness, though, so the key is to pick healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain toast, which is full of fiber, to slow digestion and regulate the flow of serotonin. That way, you'll get a happy mood boost without the drowsiness.

Rev it up: Combining whole grains with protein is a classic energy-extending combination. Try whole-wheat crackers dipped in low-fat cottage cheese, or top whole-wheat toast with your favorite sugar-free nut butter.

5. Edamame


Edamame, or boiled soybeans, are a great pick-me-up because they're easy to make, easy to transport, and fun to eat right out of the shell. Soybeans are full of nutrients that contribute directly to a boost in energy as well as mood.

A single cup of edamame provides 116 percent of the recommended daily amount of tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite, enhance sleep, and improve mood -- three factors that play a significant role in affecting energy levels. In the same serving, you'll get 57 percent of the recommended amount of protein, 43 percent of your daily omega-3 fatty acids, 41 percent of fiber, and 49 percent of your daily iron -- all important contributors to sustained energy.

Soybeans are also super-rich in molybdenum, an essential trace mineral that helps cells function properly, facilitates the use of iron reserves, aids in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates, enhances alertness, improves concentration, and helps balance blood sugar levels. All of these functions are crucially linked to the production and sustainability of energy. Molybdenum also helps prevent anemia, a common culprit of iron-deficiency-related fatigue.

Plus, soybeans are packed with folate, a natural mood booster that's been shown to increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression.

Rev it up: Combine half a cup of soybeans with equal parts shredded carrots, presoaked sea vegetables such as hijiki or wakame (two types of seaweed), and a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar for a savvy salad loaded with protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Optional: Top with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.


over 2 years ago, said...

I have had 2 surgeries in the past 3 years ,and I have been inbound for most of that time. I am down to 113 pds,I have lost all of my muscle mass, and now I am having a big dental problem. I am without teeth on the bottom but I really need to eat foods that will help me get my strength back . does anyone know what soft foods have a lot of proteins and other helpful vitamins??


over 3 years ago, said...

Finding myself doing all I can to avoiid arguments


over 3 years ago, said...

4 of these are great, I do not care for Edamane


over 3 years ago, said...

I am trying to get healthy enough to have my left shoulder replaced. Having a lot of problems getting my blood sugar down. I think it is because of the pain. I'm going to try some of these snacks and see if it helps.


about 4 years ago, said...

Straightforward information combined with easy to follow suggestions. All advice can be easily used.


about 4 years ago, said...

I here alot about wheat being wholesome and packed with fiber, I have food allergies wheat is one of them. What about grain foods, does these food pack as much as wheat.


about 4 years ago, said...

The comlete article was full of knowledge/information.


about 4 years ago, said...

Just was not aware of how good Edamame is for you.


about 4 years ago, said...

Yes. I purchased a box of Fiber One which has almond slices . In the evening if I want a little something to eat I choose cereal and sleep longer and it regulates my system. Good choice.


over 4 years ago, said...

Any sub for yogurt for those who have to avoid dairy


over 4 years ago, said...

I learned so much. I can be a better caregiver. Thank You


over 4 years ago, said...

All the information provided was extremely educational and interesting.


over 4 years ago, said...

Al was helpful if it is all true!


over 4 years ago, said...

Are all soybeans genetically modified? Even some stores that say organic are just not so. We do not have any organic markets for miles. Also I take 4, 500mg, soya lecithin each am. How could I find out whether they are all natural as jar says?


over 4 years ago, said...

This helped me find natural ingredients to help with my anemia and depression.


over 4 years ago, said...

Can i add friut to the yogurt. And is frozen yogurt?


over 4 years ago, said...

can i eat any kind of almond? or just plain.


over 4 years ago, said...

I had heard about the enegy foods years ago when my mother used to feed them to us when we were kids.Now I have found from you what my family will be going to.Natural products.Especially since my second youngest is allergic to most artificial colours and flavourings.I also believe this is also why so many people are so sick so often.We were not meant to eat the chemicals to support the chemical industry and be sick afterwards. Thank you.I hope this makes sense.


over 4 years ago, said...

finding out about almonds. i did not know it was an energy boosting nut.


over 4 years ago, said...

I did not know that almonds contained so many healthy nutrients. Thank you for all your valuable information in all your articles.


over 4 years ago, said...

Frequently running out of energy due to health and things to be done coupled with lack of appetite. Will try nuts again.


over 4 years ago, said...

all 5 of these tips where new to me so thank you for the info.


over 4 years ago, said...

This article was helpful. Some of the information I was aware of. Some was completely news to me!


over 4 years ago, said...

Good recommendations for healthful snacks.


over 4 years ago, said...

i will continue going to this chanel to read healthy articles on my health , An what I can do to keep my mine ,body and soul healthy. Thank you very , Miss Eady.


over 4 years ago, said...

good food


over 4 years ago, said...

The sandwich you have pictured is NOT healthy especially if it contains deli meats which it appears to. The bread is wheat but it very processed and glutenous which isn't horrible but it sure isn't healthy.


over 4 years ago, said...

I am very wary of soy in any form and in the US it is nearly all GM. There is a huge amount of soy in manufactured goods and animal feed Even organic soy messes with the hormones and it uptakes aliminuim from the soil which is not something you wish to ingest


over 4 years ago, said...

Liked seeing the list of energy foods, some were a surprise to me. Also liked seeing the food items that may cause sleep problems. That has been a major frustration for the last few months. Thank you.


over 4 years ago, said...

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almost 5 years ago, said...

soybeans is nutritious and easy to find around my area and cheap


almost 5 years ago, said...

These article are very usefull for everybody, really great..............................


almost 5 years ago, said...

The articles about food and the signs /symptoms of cancer are very helpful tips.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Short and valuable


almost 5 years ago, said...

The entire article gave tips about foods that will keep me energized, and healthy. Also, the easy food combinations to maximize the benefits were awesome!


almost 5 years ago, said...

Good article. Well versed with and eat all items 1-4, As for Edamame, never heard the word. Soybeans -yes, but only seen them in a tin, or dried version. Will certainly try the "Rev it Up "comment. Thanks.


almost 5 years ago, said...

reaffirmed what the good stuff really is!


almost 5 years ago, said...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The article is a very useful and informative one, giving not only the food items that are good and healthy, but providing hints on how to prepare/cook them to include in one's daily diet. I fully endorse the comtents of this article since I have been eating atleast three of the items, namely, almonds, yogurt and wheat brans almost on a daily basis for the past many years that has helped in keeping me fit and healthy even at my present age of over 70. Oats and garlick are the other two items of food that I would suggest to include in the list of best energy-giving snacks. Dr.Parameswaran Consulting Engineer ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Yogurt. I love being vindicated, although the yogurt I like best is frozen and sweet.


almost 5 years ago, said...

OK, where do you find these raw soybeans. They aren't in any major stores in my area or the neighboring towns. So, would they be in a health store?