The longer days of summer can mean fewer hours of sleep and less of a focus on healthy eating. Extra activities and later bedtimes are partially to blame, but if you follow a healthy, balanced diet, food can make a difference in your energy level.
Place a snack between breakfast and lunch and have another one between lunch and dinner. Try one of the following ideas to harness better energy from your snacks.
Instead of a package of crackers stuffed with cheese or peanut butter, try this:
Eat a brown rice cake with guacamole spread. Use a whole grain rice cake such as the one by Lundberg farms. Smash 2 slices of avocado (1/4 of the fruit) with 2 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Mix together and spread on the rice cake. The whole grains and heart healthy fats, mixed with fat-free protein will last longer in your stomach and create energy to get through the afternoon.
Instead of a 100-calorie package of anything, try this:
Eat at least 200 calories to allow you to fill up and not have to go back for more before your next meal! Try a mix of pumpkin seeds and dried cherries or raw veggies with 4 tbsp of hummus. Heart healthy fats, protein, potassium, folate and fiber are among my favorite nutrients found in these snacks.
Instead of coffee, try this:
Drink a glass of milk or a protein shake mixed with milk. Drinking milk will help boost your Vitamin D intake on a cloudy day, which helps prevent bone loss by assisting the body in its absorption of calcium.
Instead of diet soda, try this:
Add thin strips of orange, lime, lemon, or cucumber to water for an extra crisp flavor. You can also simply add a squeeze or tablespoon of fresh juice to your water. Use sparkling water if you like fizz! A little extra Vitamin C will help your body produce energy. A little is enough to give you the extra boost, and the extra hydration you are getting from water instead of soda is reason enough!
Instead of chips and salsa, try this:
Dip apple slices in tuna salad. Or, try pear slices dipped in nonfat plain Greek yogurt, sweetened with a small amount of vanilla protein powder. You can also use a low sugar vanilla Greek yogurt such as Dannon Light and Fit Greek. The fruit sugar, balanced with a high protein dip, will fill you up and offer a lasting energy.