By Haley Shaw
The three o’clock bewitching hour rolls around and your energy may be running low; however, you still have a few more hours of work, a commute home, then your typical after-work activities (errands, running kids around, meeting up with friends, working out, etc.). Snacks that provide us with an endless amount of energy are a must. Below, I will lay out the top five productivity snacks to get you through your day. Whether you’re driving to make an appointment, in and out of meetings, or “in-the-zone” at your desk, these snack selections will provide a convenient grab-n-go option no matter where you are.
Snack Choice 1: Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Fruit of Choice
Although rice cakes are a great low-calorie option, they are a little more than refined carbohydrates (which are quickly digested and converted into sugar). That said, timing with rice cakes is key. Solely consuming rice cakes on an empty stomach can actually induce a spike in blood sugar. This might just leave you feeling sluggish and craving more foods. Try to pair rice cakes with a healthy fat and fruit choice. This will quickly switch over to one of the most convenient healthy grab-n-go snack options – especially pre workout. How so? When you pair a low calorie item (rice cakes) with fruit of choice (banana, apple, strawberry slices) and a healthy fat (peanut butter, avocado, hummus), the healthy fat will actually decrease hunger cues over time. This will help keep you full for a longer period of time, allowing you to take on the tasks needed to complete whatever job you are working on.
Snack Choice 2: Protein Pancakes and Bites
One of my all time favorite snacks…protein pancakes and/or protein bites. Although you do have to make each item ahead, I recommend making a big patch of both, and storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
Trainer Haley’s Famous Protein Pancakes Recipe: (Yields 1 Serving; 3 3-inch Pancakes)
Cinnamon Vanilla Breakfast Protein Bites (Yields 12 Bites)
Snack Choice 3: Protein Shake
Fizzique, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, 1st Phorm Level-1 Protein are few great protein drink options. Recently, I tried the latest craze—sparkling protein water. As a huge La Croix fan, instantly I became a fan for Fizzique Sparkling Protein Water. Time to dive into the importance of each type of protein:
Fizzique is a light and refreshing on-the-go protein drink option to kick-start your energy and satisfy hunger between meals. The 20g of healthy bubbles of protein will reduce cravings for a high carb snack.
One of the greatest things about collagen is that it’s a simple supplement to integrate into a diet. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides dissolve into hot or cold beverages, and Vital Proteins has a few options to choose from. Whether you’re on-the-go and need the single serving stick packs, or a 32 oz tub to keep at the office, you can mix some up for an afternoon pick-me-up in coffee, BCAA’s, hot tea, or flavored water. Individuals can benefit greatly from collagen supplements, as collagen is crucial for the maintenance of healthy bones, joints, cartilage, and other connective tissues.
Whether your goal is weight loss or muscle gain, 1st Phorm Level-1 protein powder makes it easy to increase protein, or number of meals throughout the day. High in protein, low in carbohydrates and fats, makes this the perfect powder to mix into any liquid for a creamy, and delicious option. It is one of the best tasting meal replacement protein powders on the market, and leaves you feeling satisfied with no bloat, gas, burps, or upset stomach.
Snack Choice 4: KIND Bars
When searching for a nut or protein bar: compare protein to sugar content. Right now, grab your typical bar of choice. Check the protein to sugar ratio. Is the protein higher than sugar, or other way around? Commonly, you will find the sugar content higher than protein in bars and yogurt. Make sure to find a good bar where the protein content is higher than the sugar content. For example, KIND bar’s new protein Crunchy Peanut Butter bar, contains 12g Protein, and 8g total sugar (includes added), which is a great ratio.
One time when sugars can be higher than protein is when purchasing a fruit and nut bar. Check out the ingredients. Make sure the bar states “whole fruit” instead of fruit juices (apple, banana, strawberry, etc.). For example, when you’re craving something sweet, opt for PRESSED by KIND Fruit Bar or Fruit and Chocolate Bars. PRESSED By KIND Fruit Bar Mango, Apple, Chia contains 21g sugar and only 1g Protein. This is okay, because the ingredients are: mango, apple, chia seeds. That’s it!
Snack Choice 5: Turkey Jerky
Thankfully, you can now find turkey jerky everywhere—gas stations, grocery and convenience stores. Yes, it is higher in sodium; however, this is a great “last resort” snack option for a healthy, high protein, low carbohydrate treat.
Take these five productivity snack time choices to keep you full of energy. A little preparation goes a long way. Prepare ahead of time to keep your health on track throughout the workday.
If you had to choose one of the five snack choices outlined in this article, which one would you grab for your workday snack?
Haley Shaw owns Amp Up Fitness and works with MSBA to provide health and fitness content to members.