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Snacks to Turbo-Charge Your Energy

By Catherine Roberts

Medically Reviewed by Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Our lives are so busy, it can be difficult to eat nutritious wholesome foods. Even when you make healthy meals, sometimes temptation hits and we go off plan. The problem is the dreaded afternoon slump. When you’re working hard, sometimes dinner is much too far away from lunch. You start getting tired and hungry in the afternoon, making work impossible. To silence your loud and complaining stomach, you buy a candy bar or snack on chips.

It’s a great idea to pack nutritious snacks so you don’t feel tempted to buy something unhealthy. When looking for healthy snacks to keep you energized, steer clear of prepackaged foods. While they may only be 100-calories, they are missing nutrients that will keep you invigorated for the afternoon. So, the next time you experience an afternoon slump, try reaching for one of these 10 snacks to turbo-charge your energy!

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a natural candy substitute. Dried apples are chewy and slightly sour, giving a great gummy ring replacement. Dried cherries are delicious and taste almost too naughty to be good for you. Dried figs are a filling snack packed with natural sugars to keep you awake through the dull parts of the day.

When buying dried fruit, look for sugar free varieties. This just means they have no added sugar but still contain their natural fruit sugars.


Bananas are nature’s perfect snack on the go. They come in their own packaging and you can eat them with one hand. You can easily toss one into your purse, backpack, or briefcase. Bananas are full of natural sugars, making them a very energizing snack. Eat them simply as they are, or pair them with delicious toppings like peanut butter and nuts.

Frozen bananas make an amazing snack for warm days. The natural sugars in the bananas keep them from freezing solid, making their texture similar to ice cream.


Coconut is renowned for its energizing properties. Many athletes drink coconut water for its electrolytes and sugars. If you enjoy coconut water, look for brands without a ton of added sugars. Many companies pack refined sugars into the drinks to make them appeal to a wider market. Unfortunately, that pushes the health benefits aside.

Desiccated coconut, or dried coconut flakes, are a great addition to homemade trail mix. Just make sure to get no added sugar coconut flakes to avoid excess calories.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are the perfect snack for when you just want to nibble on something. De-shelling them takes forever, cutting down the actual eating time. The seeds are also amazingly healthy, providing a great supply of healthy fats and antioxidants. They are one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fats available.

When buying sunflower seeds, look for dry roasted varieties and skip the salted and flavored options. They contain sugars, extra oils, and tons of salt.


Strawberries are a favorite summer fruit that is thankfully available year round. These tart yet sweet berries are full of flavor and soluble fiber.  Eating just a few of them will keep you feeling full between meals. Dried strawberries have an amazingly concentrated taste but keep all the fiber and nutrients.

The natural sugars keep the dried fruit soft in texture, like a gummy candy. Freeze dried strawberries also make a great tart snack with a fun texture.

Celery With Peanut Butter

Celery with cheese spread is a childhood favorite, but it is packed with saturated fats and unhealthy processed ingredients. Instead, enjoy celery with peanut butter spread on top. Sprinkle on dried cranberries or raisins for an even greater energy boost. Peanut butter is filled with energy boosting oils, providing lasting relief from midday fatigue.

Always look for natural peanut butter, not the sugary processed varieties.

Beef Jerky 

Beef jerky may not be appealing for vegetarians, but it provides a great snack for meat eaters. Beef jerky is almost 100-percent protein, which is noted for keeping us full for longer than carbohydrates. You can easily make beef jerky at home by curing thin slices of meat in a low heated oven.

You can even use ground meat for a tender result. Flavor it with your favorite steak seasonings, such as Creole or peppercorn. Try and reduce the sugar, as some store bought brands are high in carbohydrates. “Pay attention to the salt content as beef jerky requires a lot of salt to be made. Portion it out and eat this snack sparingly,” says Julie Ching, registered dietitian.


Yogurt makes a great snack for busy days. Pre-portioned varieties are convenient and easy to take to work or school. Greek yogurt is packed with a ton of great protein, which will keep you full for longer. Regular yogurt brands come in amazing flavors which can replicate your favorite unhealthy treats, like cakes and puddings.

If you need a more filling snack, add your yogurt to chopped up fruit for some extra energy.

Vegetables With Hummus

Hummus is a delicious and healthy snack that is becoming more and more popular. Hummus is made from chickpeas, blended with tahini and a variety of spices. Chickpeas are filled with soluble fiber, carbohydrates, and protein. Half a cup of hummus gives around 6-grams of protein for only 200-calories.

Enjoy your hummus with vegetables to dip instead of the usual pita slices. Vegetables, like red pepper, are filled with natural plant sugars and fiber, giving you a boost when you need it.


Watermelon is a summertime favorite, but thankfully you can find it all year long. It contains the most water content when compared with other melon varieties. It also contains an abundance of soluble fiber, keeping you hydrated and satiated. Watermelon contains natural sugars, giving a great energy boost.

Cut it up in squares for easier eating at work. Messy hands are not good for your computer! Watermelon is also delicious with lime juice or ginger powder sprinkled over them. You can also freeze watermelon for a delicious warm-weather treat.

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Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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