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14 healthy energizing snacks to help medical workers get through their longest shifts

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsApril 3, 2020

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Health care professionals always work long shifts, but that’s doubly true during a pandemic. Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are at the frontlines of treating patients to ensure the world goes back to normal sooner rather than later. In order to do that, they’ll need healthy energizing snacks in the pockets of their scrubs.

Registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, host of Well+Good’s You Versus Food, says that all energizing foods share three things in common.

  1. Low glycemic index: Choose ingredients that don’t make your blood sugar spike, causing you to crash later.
  2. High in fiber: Whole grains, high fiber veggies, and nuts all fall under this category. Fiber keeps you full for a longer period of time and helps you stay regular.
  3. Adequate protein: Protein offers a steady source of energy throughout the day (or night shift!), so make sure your snack has plenty of it.

For more information on what nutritional wins make for a healthy energizing snack, watch the video below: 

Now that you know what to look for on the nutrition labels of healthy energizing snacks, let’s get down to eating, shall we? Below, you’ll find the best turbo-charging eats to reach for from the store, or to whip up from scratch. Thank you for everything you’re doing right now, medical MVPs!

14 healthy energizing snacks you can easily make yourself or pick up at the grocery store

the best snacks to buy if you don’t have time to cook

1. Yogurt: Beckerman says that yogurt has some serious snacking prowess. It’s loaded with protein (ding ding ding!), calcium for your bones, and probiotics for those good gut bugs. If plain old yogurt is boring to you, add a packet of peanut butter or a handful of low-sugar granola to the mix.

2. Air-popped popcorn: Before heading to work, whip up some air-popped popcorn drizzled with olive or coconut oil that will deliver protein, fiber, and healthy fats in every single bight. Beckerman recommends Trader Joe’s Organic Popcorn with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

3. Healthy crackers: Crackers are stepping up their games with ingredients like quinoa and chia seeds, so pick up a box of Mary’s Gone Crackers, Flackers, or Luke’s Organics for a little extra pop of nutrition in each crunch.

4. Nuts: No surprise here, but Beckerman is nuts for nuts. They’re packed with fiber, protein, and all the nutrients, so grab your favorite variety before you head out the door.

5. String cheese: “String cheese is an easy, on-the-go choice because it only contains salt and cheese. Just make sure to eat it soon after you take it out of the cool refrigerator,” says Beckerman.

6. Grass-fed jerky: Functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, MD, recommends grabbing grass-fed jerky as a speedy snack when the clock’s ticking.

7. Peanut butter and fruit: Fruit and nut butter is a match made in snack heaven.

8. Protein bars: There are millions (it feels like millions) of bars to choose from, but Beckerman likes Health Warrior Superfood Bars, Perfect Bars, Go Macro Bars, Oatmega bars, and 88 Acres Bars.

9. Beans: Yo, beans might not immediately come to mind when you think, “gee, I need a snack,” but dietitians are always recommending them because they’re high in both protein and fiber. Edamame or roasted chickpeas (both of which you can buy packaged now, what a world) fit the bill.

Learn more about each healthy bar: 

the best snacks you Can make yourself

1. Blue Zone-approved energy barsThe folks in the world’s longevity hotspots need energy to, and they love these homemade bars are an absolute staple.

2. High-protein trail mixTrail mix is so easy to eat no the go, so you can make a batch of this on a rare off day and eat it in handfuls all week.

How to make the trail mix, step by step: 

3. Almond biscuitsEveryone’s talking about baking a lot right now, and if you’re short on time, this recipe will let you get in on the fun. Minus all the hassle. Almond flour gives these biscuits an extra bump of protein.

4. Chia seed puddingChia seeds are like tiny energy powerhouses, so if you’ve got a fridge at work, this is a pretty great recipe to eat all week long.

5. Vegan chocolate-matcha banana breadI mean, do I even need to make a case for this one? Seeing as it contains caffeine, you’ll be powered up for who knows how long.

We waste a *lot* of food, here’s how to change that. And if you fondly remember the cheesepuffs of your childhood, here are some healthier versions

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