By Kristin Sidorov
As the days seem shorter (and darkness seeps in earlier), maintaining your active lifestyle and keeping your energy levels up can be tricky. While some energy-boosting products do deliver on their promises, they can also be hiding some not-so-nutritious ingredients and side effects. Going all-natural can ensure you keep your goals without feeling a crash.
The truth is, most processed health products are trying to mimic benefits of foods and nutrients that occur in nature. While grabbing a quick nutrition bar may seem more convenient, you’ll find that once you know what you’re doing, these all natural and quick energy boosters are just as effortless—and tastier, too.
Eggs. While their yolks contain tons of essential nutrients and antioxidants, their whites are rich in protein and low in fat. Try making an omelet with 1 whole egg and two egg whites. Or hard-boil them for an easy, on-the-go snack that will keep you full and satisfied.
Small banana or apple with peanut butter. The fruit’s natural sweetness takes longer to metabolize than processed sugars, and peanut butter’s protein is a great, delicious source of healthy, long-lasting energy.
Whole grain crackers or bread with hummus. Whole grains are a key nutrient and are made up of complex carbohydrates, great for boosting energy and filling you up without slowing you down. Hummus adds fiber, another excellent nutrient that aids in digestion and curbs hunger, and a touch of olive oil, which is packed with antioxidants and heart-healthy nutrients.
Dried fruits and nuts. Nuts are a slow-burning, sustained energy source, while sweet and delicious dried fruit packs tons of fiber. The combination is unbeatable for curbing mid-day fatigue and staying full and focused when you’re active.
Yogurt. All yogurts (especially Greek) have lots of protein, as well as calcium and immune-boosting bacteria. Eat it anytime for a great pick-me-up that keeps you satisfied. Add a touch of honey or fruit for some natural sweetness, or granola or nuts to boost fiber and protein levels.
Chia Seeds. Extremely rich in omega-3s, antioxidants, fiber, and protein, chia seeds pretty much have it all. Add them to your morning cereal or yogurt, sprinkle on salads, grind them and add them to your flour when baking, or just eat them as a snack. When soaked for 30 minutes or more, they soften. Add water, a little sugar, and lime or lemon juice for a classic “chia fresca,” or let them soak in chocolate almond milk for a yummy sweet treat!
Dark Chocolate. Seriously. It keeps you feeling full naturally, which may help you eat less and helps curb your sugar cravings. What’s more, it’s chock-full of flavonoid antioxidants, which are great for heart and blood health. Combined with fruit like fresh berries or a banana, it can help you stay on track without going overboard on calories.
Water. Instead of sports drinks that can weight you down with unnecessary calories and sugars, try getting plenty of good old-fashioned water. It’s suggested that even mild dehydration can cause extreme fatigue and slow metabolism. Drink up!
Tell Us: What are your go-to snacks for healthy energy?