From shorter days to fewer hours of sunlight, winter solstice signals a period of darkness and frigid temperatures (brrr). Thanks to the shorter days and dimmer conditions, our circadian rhythms are thrown off balance, making us feel more sluggish than usual (that's right—it's not just you). That's because "when it's dark, the body produces more melatonin, making us feel sleepy and tired," says Alyssa Wilson, RDN, MS, LS, a registered dietitian and metabolic health coach for Signos based in Memphis, Tennessee. Whether you're feeling slumped, or your stomach is growling, energy-boosting snacks are the perfect mood and energy pick-me-up.
When making your way to the snack aisles, Rachel Engelhart, RD, LPC, a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor based in Washington, DC, recommends munchies rich in protein, fat, and fiber—which tend to have more staying power (meaning your appetite will be satisfied for longer) and prevent your glucose levels from spiraling. "This means that you avoid the sugar spike and subsequent crash that can lead to feeling lethargic and cranky shortly after eating," she says. Instead of sugary snacks, opt for fresh fruits and veggies. For healthy fats, Alli Magier, MS, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian, says to go for nuts and seeds.
From no-frills dry roasted almond packs to chicken sriracha bars for on-the-go eats, keep reading to find the best energy-boosting snacks that'll help you overcome the winter sleepies.
Best energy-boosting snacks
This nut variety pack comes recommended by Wilson. This trio features dry roasted almonds, unsalted almonds and walnuts, and roasted cashews. Each pack offers 100 calories, 3 grams of protein, and a pinch of fiber. Snack on a pack of these for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Another recommendation from Wilson, these dry roasted edamame are crunchy and offer some tasty bites. Each serving boasts 130 calories to give you a jolt of energy while being filling thanks to the whopping 14 grams of protein. It’s also a good source of potassium and iron—which has benefits for your immune system, muscles, and overall health. Seriously, you won’t stop chewing.
Yogurt is another great way to lift your spirits, and this one is rich in 15 grams of protein and 180 milligrams of calcium. According to Wilson, protein is more filling and keeps you satisfied for longer, so you’ll have enough energy throughout the day. “Pair with some berries and sliced almonds,” recommends Wilson.
For a no-frills bite, you can’t go wrong with a bar, and this chicken sriracha bar is as tasty as it sounds. Each bar has 100 calories and 11 grams of protein per serving that will give you a jolt in lasting energy. Within each bite, enjoy a spicy kick. Since each bar is individually wrapped, you can grab a bar from the pantry and go.
For the meat lovers, Brittany Lara, RDN, LDN, an Illinois-based long-term care dietitian, recommends these turkey pepperoni bites. Without the dough, pizza sauce, and sleepiness, these pepperoni bites are the perfect snack for anyone craving pizza. Each bite-sized turkey meat features 10 grams of protein, 188 milligrams of potassium, and a whole lot of yummy-ness.
You can’t go wrong with trail mix, and Lara recommends this pack from Good and Gather. Dried cranberries, almonds, dried blueberries, and dark chocolate chips—uhh…yum! Not only is this mixture tasty, it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamin E, and potassium.
For a hearty snack—minus the sugar spike—Engelhart says to opt for cheese. These individually-wrapped Mini Babybels offer a good source of calories (70) and protein (5 grams). Pair them with seed-filled crackers and turkey pepperoni for extra yum.
Option: Get a 6-pack on Amazon Fresh.
Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and you can load up on all these health-promoting benefits with Bumble Bee’s Salmon Salad Kit. Featuring a can of salmon salad and crackers, this kit makes the ideal snack for days you’re feeling slumped. Take a bite and let the mood boosting commence!
If you’re ready to commit, and want that Prime delivery, get it on Amazon for $21.
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