5 Power Foods To Get You Through Your Work Day
Everyone gets hit hard by the afternoon slump. Usually, by 2 p.m., people’s heads start to sag just a little at their desks. It’s only a few more hours until quitting time, and you can’t take a siesta unless your company allows it. You need a little pick-me-up. Don’t reach for another cup of coffee. The energy from the caffeine won’t last. Do not reach for an energy drink, either. Those things can kill you – literally. Power foods are not only healthy for you, they will also pick you up enough to make to five o’clock. Here are five of them from which you can choose.
Nuts and Seeds
One of the best power foods out there is nuts. Nuts are packed with protein and some varieties add a nice dose of healthy fat to your diet. The best nuts to snack on are almonds and walnuts. Almonds will stabilize your blood sugar and give you consistent energy throughout the rest of the afternoon. Walnuts are a fantastic choice for omega-3 fatty acids, which will boost your brainpower. If seeds are your preference, stick with a healthier option such as pumpkin seeds. These traditional Halloween treats can be eaten year round and they pack a nice punch of magnesium to your daily diet.
Something to add to your nuts or seeds is a few pieces of dried fruit. Fresh fruit is also a great option, but sometimes the workplace might not accommodate such a treat. Dried fruit is easy to store – it doesn’t need refrigeration – and pops into your mouth without the added stickiness of, say, a juicy orange. Dried apricots are the perfect choice when it comes to this popular dried treat. Apricots boost your glucose safely and naturally, and they also give your body a little extra oxygen-boosting iron. Grab a handful of almonds and dried apricots together. It makes a healthy mini-trail mix and you can dry the fruit yourself.
Eggs got a lot of bad press for a long time, but new studies show the cholesterol concerns initially surrounding the consumption of eggs just might be unfounded. No, you shouldn’t eat a three-egg omelet for breakfast every morning and then top it off with a hard-boiled egg in the afternoon, but if you’ve stuck to a whole-grain cereal for your morning meal, there’s nothing wrong with an egg for your afternoon pick-me-up. As long as you can keep the egg in refrigeration until you are ready to eat it, this snack is a healthy power food packed with enough protein to tie both your energy and appetite over until dinner.
Plain Low-Fat Yogurt
Plain yogurt is the only way to go when it comes to yogurt. You’ll be surprised to learn that upwards of 1/4 cup of sugar is added to fruit-flavored yogurts. That’s right. Fruit-flavored yogurts are absolutely packed with unhealthy sugar, which is not only bad because too much sugar is harmful you, but it also defeats the point of a power food pick-me-up, as you’ll crash – hard – after the sugar wears off. The sugar-free yogurts are laden with artificial sweeteners, which have their own health concerns. So, grab a plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt, both excellent sources of protein, and add some frozen cherries or blueberries to make it more palatable.
Soybeans super good for you, and they’re also a power food that is perfect for your afternoon snack. Edamame already husked is easy to find at the store; you can even purchase dry-roasted soybeans for a nuttier-type snack. Packed within these little green beans that look a cross between lima beans and peas is a hefty amount of iron and folate, both proven to increase brain function and cognitive performance. Soy also has other health benefits, such as lowering your cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.
If none of these power foods sound appealing to you, keep a few things in mind when looking for your perfect afternoon snack. Select snacks that are high in protein and low in fat; fat makes you sleepy. Avoid foods with unhealthy carbohydrates, such as sugar-laden foods. Make sure your snack isn’t too big. If you load up on calories in the afternoon, even healthy ones, you’ll still need that nap. And finally, do snack. Our bodies work much more efficiently when they are fueled throughout the day, so keep your metabolism running with some healthy power snacks.