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Jump Start Snacks

10 Foods to Energize Your Afternoon

Fatigue happens to the best of us. Whether it’s after a restless night’s sleep, or a mid-afternoon slump, coffee, sugar and energy drinks can feel like the easy answer. Unfortunately, that quick fix is also the quick way to crash. The good news is there are plenty of healthy options to amplify your energy.

Focus on foods with protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates and magnesium that will take longer to digest and therefore extend your energy. Mix and match energizing snacks – like Greek yogurt and berries, or grapefruit and cottage cheese – for a more powerful punch. Drinking lots of water can also help – even mild dehydration can leave you feeling weary.

One eight-ounce cup of coffee in the morning is perfectly fine, but skip the refills and opt for one of these 10 picks for a more nutritious boost of energy.

1. Nuts

In addition to energy-extending protein and fiber, nuts are full of additional nutrients to refuel your electrolyte supply. A peanut butter sandwich for lunch or a handful of almonds at snack time can keep you going during a long afternoon.

Tip: Choose walnuts for a boost of melatonin, the chemical your body releases at night to regulate your body clock.

2. Fruit

Soothe your sweet tooth while also boosting energy with the complex healthy carbs in fruit. Melons are a particularly great choice – their high water content keeps you hydrated, another boost to energy.

3. Yogurt

Complex carbs and protein is one of most nutritious pairings you can find. Found in Greek yogurt or Icelandic yogurt, they combine to slow digestion for more sustained energy.

4. Dairy

Healthy spreadable cheeses, cottage cheese or milk can be part of a healthy, energy-boosting snack. The protein and carbs found in dairy-products is a power combo for replenishing electrolytes and a study suggests that drinking milk at night boosts muscle recovery and growth too.

5. Edamame

Fiber, protein, complex carbs and healthy fat are all present for a slowly digested, energy-amplifying snack. To get the most nutrition from your snack, avoid table salt and sodium-packed sauces.

6. Whole Grains

Complex carbs, check. Magnesium, check. Quinoa is a trendy and powerful grain – the only type with a complete protein – and classic brown rice will never go out of style.

7. Beans

Slowly digested protein and fiber extends the energy boost of beans, while a healthy dose of magnesium relaxes the body so it can rest.

8. Lentils

The combination of protein, complex carbs and fiber means even a half-cup of cooked lentils is providing a big boost of healthy energy. And they cook in a fraction of time it takes to make beans!

9. Eggs

Great for a powerful start to the day, the protein, iron and zinc in eggs give you energy and helps to maintain blood sugar levels at the same time.

10. Tea

When caffeine is the only answer, opt for green or black tea for a healthy boost to keep you going. Added bonus? The energy boosting amino acid in green tea may also protect against tiresome illness like the cold or the flu.