7 Energy-Boosting Snacks
Posted 10/10/2016 by UHBlog
Do you skip snacks because you're afraid of ruining your dinner or diet? It's time to rethink snacking.
Healthy, low-calorie snacks can help you power through until your next meal and curb overeating, says registered dietitian nutritionist Heather Butscher, MS, RDN, LD.
“A snack is a small pick-me-up or energy booster between meals,” she says. “Just like the meals you eat, it should be a good source of carbohydrates and protein. The carbohydrates give you energy and the protein helps sustain it.”
According to Butscher, snacks eaten a few hours before your next meal can also make you less hungry and prevent overeating. When choosing a snack, you want something that will stick with you for about two hours. Additionally, snacks should be no more than approximately 150 calories.
Be cautious about your snack selection, Butscher says.
“A lot of people I see are dealing with inflammation, which can be exacerbated by the foods they eat,” she says. “Some snack foods may not be the best choice if they're processed and contain added sugars.”
For instance, a grab-and-go fruit cup – even the ones without added sugar – are processed. Breakfast bars are also poor snack choices.
“When people go with whole foods, they're sometimes surprised by how much better they feel,” Butscher says.
In her one-on-one integrative nutrition consultations with patients, she covers the health benefits of avoiding sugary and processed foods, which include:
- Reduced pain
- Less inflammation
- Improved sleep
- Increased, longer lasting energy
- Better metabolism
For snacks that will boost your energy until your next meal, Butscher recommends choosing one of these seven choices:
- 1 apple (about the size of a woman's fist) with either 5 walnuts or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or a nut butter without added sugar
- A cup of skim or soy milk with a few nuts
- One ounce of a hard cheese with five whole grain crackers
- Low-fat yogurt with a few nuts
“Be careful not to overkill this by making it a parfait,” Butscher says. “If berries and granola are added, it can easily go over 200 calories, making it almost as large as another meal.”
- String cheese and a handful of grapes
- Hummus and carrots and cucumbers
“A half cup of hummus is a good choice because it's both a carbohydrate and protein source,” she says.
When eating your snack, drink water, Butscher says.
“Most of us aren't getting enough hydration every day,” she says.
For an integrative nutrition consultation that can help you plan meals and snacks, email University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network or call 216-285-4070.
Heather Butscher, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist at UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Butscher or any other health care professional online.