Snacks that Can Increase Energy and Mental Focus

Nutrition and eating healthfully have a direct impact on your energy, motivation, and productivity. To keep energy levels up, eat nutrient dense snacks at regular intervals throughout the day—about two hours before, and two hours after a meal. A nutrient-dense snack provides: protein, healthy fat, fiber, and about 150 calories. The following snacks will silence cravings and keep you from overeating in the evening.

Hard-boiled Eggs and Vegetables

What should I eat? One or two hard boiled eggs (70-140 calories, 6-12 grams of protein) and one cup sliced vegetables (25 calories) seasoned with black pepper or your favorite vinaigrette.

Why? A good source of protein, heart healthy fat and fiber this snack checks all the marks for nutrient density. The addition of piperine from black pepper supports digestion.

Whole Grain Waffle with Jam or Fruit

What should I eat? One whole grain waffle with one tablespoon fruit preserves or 1/2 cup chopped fresh fruit.

Why? Whole grain frozen waffles (such as Vans or Kashi) are a good source of fiber (3.5 grams).

Mini whole grain waffles with peanut butter and fresh fruit are also a simple, nutritious breakfast for adults and children.

Turkey and Grapes

What should I eat? Two ounces of thinly sliced turkey breast (90 calories, 14 grams of protein) and 17 grapes (60 calories).

Why? This protein-rich snack will also satisfy your sweet tooth.

Almonds, pistachios, and other nuts

What should I eat? Measure ¼ cup shelled, or ½ cup unshelled nuts (160-180 calories, 6 grams of protein) into mini snack bags along with two tablespoons of dried fruit or look for one hundred calorie snack packs that come in a variety satisfying flavors like cocoa and smokehouse.

Why? Dried fruits quell sugar cravings and nuts provide a healthy dose of unsaturated fat, protein and fiber for sustained energy so you can skip the afternoon vending machine run.

Cottage Cheese with Fruit or Vegetables

What should I eat? One cup of cottage cheese (100 calories, 12 grams of protein) with one cup of chopped melon (50-60 calories); or add savory spices to the cottage cheese and serve with one cup of sliced vegetables (10-25 calories).

Why? This low-calorie, protein-rich snack can be sweet or savory to match your cravings.

DIY Popcorn

What should I eat? 3-4 cups of air-popped corn (120 calories, 5 grams of fiber).

Why: Popcorn is a good source of fiber and an entire bowl (see recipe below) won’t break your calorie budget.

DIY popcorn Recipe: Mix ¼ cup popcorn kernels with ½ teaspoon vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Pour into a lunch-size brown paper bag, fold top to seal and microwave on high until the popping slows down. The exact time will depend on your microwave. Season with black pepper or chili powder if desired.


What should I eat? One avocado half (180 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 450 mg of potassium) with a pinch of salt, lime juice, and one cup of veggies (10-25 calories); serve as a chopped salad or vegetables and guacamole.

Why? Avocados are packed with soluble fiber and monounsaturated fat. They are also rich in potassium to support heart and brain health.

Dried Fruit and Low-fat Cheese

What should I eat? One ounce of gouda cheese (100 calories, 7 grams of protein) and four to six dried apricots, dried plums or figs (60 calories).

Why? Perfectly balanced between sweet and savory, this protein-rich snack is also a synch to pack.

Apple slices with almond butter

What should I eat? One medium apple (70 calories) with one tablespoon of almond butter (100 calories).

Why? This iconic salty-sweet snack is a good source of fiber and healthy fat. Just a spoonful of almond butter during that mid-afternoon slump will stabilize blood glucose so you are not ravenous when dinner rolls around.


Did you know? Olives are sold in convenient single-serve cups.

What should I eat? 5-10 olives.

Why? Olives quash cravings with cardio protective, monounsaturated fat.

Yogurt and Berries

What should I eat? Have six ounces of low-fat plain Greek yogurt or skyr (100 calories, 12 grams of protein) with one cup of berries (50-60 calories, 6-10 grams of fiber).

Why? Rich in fiber and probiotics this snack provides sustained energy and supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

KIND Bars: Cashew & Ginger Spice

What should I eat? One bar.

Why? Made with nuts and a touch of sugar, these bars are naturally rich in protein, fiber, healthy fat, and are low in sugar (200 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar). Aromatic spices like ginger and cinnamon make these bars even more satisfying.

Be well.

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