Last week my colleague posted about the mid-morning munchies so I thought it would be fitting to list some of the best power foods to snack on which will help satiate appetite and avoid a midday energy crash!
Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight or just maintain a healthy diet, there is something for everyone on this list...
Nuts contain healthy essential fatty acids, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium and are high in protein , fibre and antioxidant phytochemicals but they are also relatively calorie dense. If you are bulking, this is not such a major issue for you but if you are on a weight loss diet, you will need to be careful about the quantity that you snack on. If you are concerned about portion control, it is best to pre-plan the correct portion and place the nuts into a sealable sandwich bag ready for snack time! The nutrient value of nuts make them ideal for snacking as they help to satiate appetite while providing calories from beneficial macronutrients which will keep cognitive function running smoothly and energy levels high until your next meal.
Pistachios are a good choice for dieters as they help to satiate appetite and because you have to crack open the shells; it is easier to keep track of how many you have eaten. Pistachios are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin; antioxidants which are associated with healthy vision. You can help yourself to a relatively large serving of pistachios without overdoing it on the calories. 49 nuts contain just ~157kcal.
Walnuts are a rich source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and are particularly high in vitamin E. They contain ~185kcal per 14 halves. Almonds are another great choice for a mid morning snack, providing ~162kcal per 23 nuts. Almonds are associated with enhancing cardiovascular health and helping consumers achieve a ‘washboard stomach’. This statement probably comes from the fact that they satiate appetite and are not a snack which will cause bloating or digestive upset.
For those gunning for mass gains, brazil nuts are very calorie dense. ½ cup contains 436kcal. They are also particularly high in selenium which is protective against oxidative stress, great for those who partake in high-intensity workouts on a regular basis.
If you are allergic to nuts, there are 9 other power food snacks below which are suitable for you .
Protein shakes are a great mid morning munchies cure for many reasons! They help satiate appetite, allow you a sweet tasting treat without loading up on carbohydrates, aid muscle growth and repair..the list goes on. You can also throw some of the other foods on this list into your shake to create one very nutrient rich power shake. Oats, banana and berries are all great options.
If you are heading off to work, the most convenient way to snack on eggs is by hard boiling them and taking them with you ready for when the munchies strike! Eggs are a great low calorie snack. One medium egg provides ~63 calories, 35% of which is from protein making it a very good source! Not only this, but egg protein has a complete amino acid profile meaning that it provides all 9 essential amino acids as well as the 11 we are able to synthesise within the body. As well as providing 6g protein and 4g fat per egg of this size, they are also a good source of riboflavin, phosphorus and vitamin B12 which is great for cognition and energy.
Obviously I’m not talking about refried or baked beans here but kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeas and lentils are all low in fat and rich sources of iron, manganese, B vitamins, protein and fibre. Beans are great for cardiovascular health and satiating appetite among many other health benefits.
Yogurt contains protein, potassium, calcium and vitamins A, B and D. Natural yoghurt with no added sugar or artificial flavouring is best. Probiotic yoghurts are also great to support digestive and immune health. To make yoghurt particularly filling, add a teaspoon of olive oil. Studies have shown this to be effective in reducing appetite and aiding fat loss. Alternatively, you can add a few tablespoons of yoghurt to a protein shake.
Compounds found in blueberries help protect and heal the body against diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer and cognitive (brain function) decline. Their brain boosting abilities make them a great mid morning snack choice, particularly if concentration at work is beginning to lag. Blueberries contain a wide assortment of antioxidants that protect brain function by enhancing nerve signals and removing inflamed brain neurons.
There are ~105kcal in a medium banana (7-8”). The macronutrient content is 93% carbohydrate, 3% fat and 4% protein. Bananas are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.
Oats are comprised of 70% carbohydrate, 15% fat and 15% protein on average. The balance of macronutrients and high carbohydrate content make oats an excellent snack/meal to provide sustainable energy. Oats provide ~150kcal of energy per 40g serving. Depending on whether you choose to mix your oats with water or milk the nutrient value will vary. Oats are also a good source of fibre (helping to aid digestion) and iron (for blood health). Be sure to choose the natural oats and avoid brands which contain added sugar.
A 33g serving of turkey contains only 34kcal from 16% carbohydrate, 14% fat and 70% protein. Turkey is a great source of protein and is a good source of riboflavin, phosphorus and selenium too. Turkey is a filling snack which is easily prepared. Consider a turkey salad with lots of leafy greens and beans for the ultimate power food mid-morning meal!
Avocados often get bad press for being high in fat, but as you clued up people know, there is a significant difference between health promoting monounsaturated fats and unhealthy saturated and trans fats. It is not just the essential fatty acids that make avocado a great snack though. Avocados are loaded with antioxidants including Lutein and beta-carotene. They are also a good source of vitamins B6, C, D and E which helps maintain a healthy immune system, clear complexion and help you fight off bad moods and fatigue, both of which can reduce your ability to concentrate. One small avocado is a great snack or you can include it in a salad with tomatoes and leafy greens. Studies have found that avocados help us to absorb the antioxidant goodness from other foods too!