Emergency Energy

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I don’t know about you, but when 3:00 pm hits, I often find myself reaching for the coffee pot. But, coffee isn’t always the answer. It’s okay in moderation, but if you have too much, coffee can make you jittery and give you anxiety.

What’s better? Well, certain foods will give you a natural and lasting energy boost. So, instead of reaching for the coffee pot, try keeping an emergency pack of energy-boosting foods on hand.

Foods for your “emergency pack:”

1. Protein Bar. I have two favorites– they’re both yummy. Kind Bars are nut-based, so they’re high in protein, but they’re also low in sugar. I also like the Ultra-Low Carb chocolate mint bar from Biogenesis. These bars will keep you energized and clear-headed for at least 3 hours.

2. Hard Boiled Eggs. They only have 75 calories and will increase your energy for about 2-4 hours. The fat in the yolk will also help to lower your stress levels. Even if you have cholesterol problems, you can still have 5-6 eggs per week. Talk to your Doctor if you have any questions.

3. Nuts or seeds. A serving is one ounce, which is about the size of a shot glass. The protein and fat in the nuts can help boost your energy and keep you full for about 2 hours.

4. Edamame. 1/2 cup of this snack packs a big punch: about 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber!

5. Water. When you get dehydrated, you will feel tired, grumpy, and you may have a hard time making decisions.

Need more energy? 4 more energy boosters.

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread. You have protein here, a little fat and fiber. This snack can stay un-refrigerated for a few hours and still be safe. Also, the combination of protein and fat will keep you full and focused.

2. String Cheese. Individually-packed string cheeses are easy to take on-the-go, and they are packed with protein and fat that will keep you energized enough to tackle the rest of the day.

3. Pumpkin Seeds. Ounce for ounce, they contain more protein than any other nut or seed. A quarter cup has about 8.5 protein grams and is a rich source of many other vitamins and minerals. Studies show that the phytosterols they contain reduce cholesterol levels, enhance the immune response and may even decrease the risk of certain cancers.

4.  Non or low fat Plain Greek Yogurt. It’s thicker and creamier and contains 50% more protein than regular yogurt because it contains less water. Sweeten it up with a teaspoon of “no sugar added” jam or some fresh fruit.

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