Energy foods to power you through the day
When hunger strikes, it’s easy to make choices that give you a temporary boost and then leave you exhausted and starving 30 minutes later. Avoid that cycle by trying some snacks that are filling, healthy, and energizing.
Solo Moms are moms, chauffeurs, party planners, personal chefs, tutors, breadwinners, nurturers, food sources, and so much more. When energy plummets, it can be hard to keep up with all our responsibilities. Suddenly, being a mom becomes more of a chore and less of a joy. Staying energized doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it is something a lot of Solo Moms tend to ignore. Quelling those hunger pangs with drive-through foods, sugary drinks, caffeine, or the packages of carbohydrate-loaded snacks your kids eat can lead to a big crash later in the day.
The most difficult part of preparing energizing snacks is making sure that you have a well-stocked pantry. When hunger ambushes you, you’re most likely to turn to something you already have in your cabinets or to vending-machine snacks, which often are devoid of nutrients and leave you crashing shortly after you indulge.
Try some of these snacks to keep your energy level and enthusiasm up—and your orneriness levels down.
- Avocados. Avocados are high in fat, but they are also high in fiber, potassium, and folic acid. Avocados might not hold up well in a hot car, but since they don’t need to be refrigerated, they can be an ideal snack for the home or office. Try eating half with a little lemon juice and sea salt, or use it as a spread, along with some lime juice and cayenne pepper, on whole-grain toast.
- Smoothies. If you have a blender or food processor, you are seconds away from an energy-boosting smoothie. You can prepackage the ingredients so all you need to do is drop in your fruits and vegetables, add a liquid or yogurt, and blend away. If you’re sick of strawberry-banana, try blackberry-almond, strawberry-banana-avocado, or spinach-ginger-pineapple. As a bonus, kids love smoothies, too.
- Eggs and toast. While you’re toasting a slice of bread or an English muffin, you can quickly scramble an egg or slice up a hard-boiled egg you’ve prepared earlier in the week. The combination of protein and carbs will keep you feeling full much longer than a handful of Goldfish crackers. If your snack is happening in the late afternoon, you could turn that snack into “breakfast for dinner” for the kids.
- Steam-in-the-bag vegetables. A heaping bowl of vegetables with a bit of olive oil and salt can be a deceptively filling snack. If you are in a postcrash slump, instead of reaching for chips, an energy drink, or one of your kids’ granola bars, try string beans or a vegetable mix. If you’ve got small children in the house, it also sets a great example for them.
- Plain Greek yogurt and honey. Greek yogurt is a satisfying snack. With a bit of honey and fruit, you have a healthful snack that will help get you through the rest of the day. You can also use Greek yogurt for smoothies or kids’ snacks. Since it is rather tart, some children may prefer it with an extra dose of fruit or a bit of jam.
- Carrots and hummus. This is another snack that is very satisfying, nutritious, and filling. Like eggs and toast, you can also turn this into a dinner by offering string cheese, leftover rotisserie chicken, and any other dips you have on hand.
On the go
All these snacks also work at home, but they will hold up well in your purse, diaper bag, car, or desk drawer at work.
- Apples and bananas. This is very basic, but it’s not usually a go-to snack for adults. Apples are portable, do not require refrigeration, and are filling and healthy. Same goes for bananas. These fruits are also cost effective and are great for kids’ lunches.
- Dried fruit and nuts. The downside of this snack is that nuts can be expensive. They are still a good value, though, since they are calorie dense and provide a lot of important nutrients. If you have high cholesterol, almonds and walnuts can also help with that. If you have raisins or dried apricots in the house and a bag of nuts from a big-box store, you can package them in single-serving bags to grab when you leave the house.
- Vegetable sticks. Hummus can be messy on the go, but vegetables are a convenient snack that won’t leave you covered in crumbs. If you cut up red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, jicama, celery, and other vegetables your family enjoys early in the week, they’ll be ready for kids’ lunches and after-school snacks.
- Pretzels. Carb-filled snacks aren’t bad. It’s just important to be strategic about your choices and have a variety of snacks during the day. In other words, if you have pretzels as a morning snack at work, try a piece of fruit next time you feel hungry or need an energy boost.
Once you get in a pattern of eating power snacks, you will feel better and have more energy.
It’s important for Solo Moms to practice self-care. Eating power snacks is just one of the many ways that you can do your body a favor. See our Well-Being, Health & Fitness section for more tips on feeling good.
Danielle Bostick, a former Solo Mom and ESME’s Wellness–Mental Health Resource Guide, is a Latin teacher, an advocate, and a mom to six kids in Winchester, Virginia. When not working as an educator, Bostick writes about the National Football League for various sites and sexual assault and child sexual abuse for the Huffington Post. You can find her on Twitter: @danibostick, and on Facebook: Dani Bostick.
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