10 Superfood Snacks to Stay Full & Energized All Day Long
Superfoods are a trendy topic these days, but it's for good reason. Just like how it sounds in the name, this category of foods contains fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that are incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense. While they all come with their own unique health benefits, some superfoods make for the perfect snack to eat in between meals because they can keep you feeling full and more energized before it's time to eat your next meal.
But what makes a snack more filling and energizing? For starters, foods that are higher in fiber and protein will have more satiating qualities to them. High-fiber foods aren't digested like other carbohydrates, so eating these foods can slow down your body's digestion process, leaving you less hungry. Foods higher in protein can both help regulate your hunger hormones as well as reduce cravings.
Because of the way fiber and protein keep you feeling more full, they can also in turn help you feel more energized because you won't be suffering from hunger or a lack of essential nutrients throughout the day. These snacks can also help bring you more energy because you'll be avoiding the snacks that are associated with making you feel more sluggish and lethargic, such as foods with tons of added sugar—which can cause intense blood sugar crashes and are known to leave people feeling hungry, tired, and sluggish.
For some ideas on delicious superfood snacks to keep you full and energized before your next meal, check out this list of dietitian-recommended choices. Then, for more healthy eating tips, read 14 Healthy & Delicious Snacks That Will Make You Feel Full.
For a snack that is quick, easy, and healthy all in one, Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN recommends a handful of pistachios.
"Protein is a powerhouse macro when it comes to satiety, and pistachios are a go-to for a protein-packed snack, as they provide all of the essential amino acids in plant-based form," says Manaker. These essential amino acids—which your body can't make on its own—are known as the "building blocks of protein" and are needed for your body to actually make protein. Animal-based proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, making them what is known as a "complete protein." Most plant-based proteins are considered incomplete because they don't contain every amino acid, but pistachios (as well as tempeh, soy, and quinoa) are a delicious exception.
Manaker also adds that in addition, "they are a source of fiber and healthy fats, which help keep people feeling full, too."
Trail mix of mixed nuts and dried fruit
One way to ensure that you're getting a good superfood snack is to combine multiple superfoods into one! According to Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, making a homemade trail mix of things like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips is the perfect way to do this.
"Walnuts and almonds provide healthy fats and protein for satiety, while pumpkin seeds offer magnesium and iron," says Goodson. "Dried cranberries add natural sweetness and antioxidants, and dark chocolate chips contribute to mood-boosting benefits."
On its own, avocado is a beloved superfood full of healthy fats and fiber, as well as vitamins like folate, magnesium, and vitamin E. You can always enjoy some slices of avocado by itself, but Goodson recommends turning this superfood snack up a notch by making avocado toast on whole wheat bread with toppings like cucumber, chia seeds, and micro greens.
She says that all of these ingredients work great together because, "Avocado provides monounsaturated fats for satiety, while whole-grain toast offers fiber and sustained energy. Cucumber adds hydration and crunch, chia seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids, and microgreens offer a nutrient boost."
Many of the superfoods on this list have higher levels of protein or fiber because those are the major components that help keep you full and more energized after eating them. But watermelon, "which is one of the most hydrating foods out there and is made of 92% water and packed with electrolytes," says Manaker, is a snack that can keep you feeling energized because of its hydrating qualities.
"Sometimes, people can feel more energized when they are not dehydrated, and snacking on watermelon can help accomplish this goal." Also, because of its lower calorie counts and higher levels of water, you can feel more full off of more watermelon without going past your calorie goals.
Greek yogurt with berries
Goodson notes that Greek yogurt is a wonderful superfood snack because "it is high in protein, aiding in appetite control, satiety, and muscle maintenance, and it also contains probiotics that help with digestion and gut health."
But if you want even more of a nutrient punch in your snack to help keep the afternoon sluggishness away, she says to make sure you add a handful of berries and chopped almonds to your yogurt as well. "Berries provide antioxidants and fiber for digestion and almonds add extra good fat and fiber for a satisfying treat."
She also adds that you can top it off with some honey, "which adds natural sweetness." This sweetener is full of antioxidants and vitamins, and has actually been found to possibly help aid in heart health and lowering of blood pressure.
Both of our dietitians swear by a glass of milk when you need a nutrient boost—"With natural carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein per cup, milk is an affordable, accessible, nutrient-rich beverage that gives you everything you need in one glass," says Goodson.
According to Manaker, "a glass of milk provides carbohydrates, protein, and in some cases fat, and these macros help people feel satisfied simply by sipping away."
Goodson adds that "milk contains 13 essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, the electrolyte potassium, the antioxidant selenium and more," which is why she also says, "milk does a body good!"
Chia seeds are another example of a plant-based protein source, and even though these seeds are tiny, they pack a mighty punch of nutrients. This is why Goodson recommends making a chia seed pudding by combining milk, vanilla, blueberries, and pecans with your chia seeds for your mid-afternoon snack.
"These seeds expand in liquid, creating a gel-like consistency that promotes fullness, and they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber," says Goodson. "Milk provides additional 13 essential nutrients and one gram of high-quality protein per ounce, and blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse and provide natural sweetness. Plus, pecans add some extra monounsaturated fat, fiber, and crunch."
When you're really in a bind and don't have much time on your hands for preparing a thoughtful snack, making a few hard-boiled eggs and storing them in the fridge can be a lifesaver.
"Eggs make for a great snack because they are truly nature's multivitamin, providing a wide variety of vitamins and minerals plus highly-bioavailable protein to keep you satisfied and energized," says Maggie Michalczyk, RDN.
Eggs are high in protein with about 6 grams per egg, which will directly help you feel more satiated before your next meal. But eggs are also more than just protein, as they are also full of helpful vitamins and nutrients, meaning they can help keep you full while also giving your body some of its essential nutrients.
For instance, "Eggs are a good source of choline, which helps boost memory function and is essential for brain development," says Michalcyzk. Along with choline, eggs also contain vitamin D, which can help improve your muscle and bone health.
Chickpeas are a high-fiber and high-protein food (8 grams of fiber and almost 9 grams of protein in 1/2 of a can) that can help keep your hunger at bay and your digestion healthy, all while also giving your body a boost of important nutrients and vitamins like manganese, folate, copper, zinc, and iron.
To make this an easy snack, just take a can of chickpeas and roast them in the oven with some light seasoning and salt, or turn it into some hummus to go along with your favorite sliced vegetables.
Apples and nut butter
A sliced apple with nut butter is a nostalgic snack for many, but it's also one that combines multiple superfoods and can keep you feeling more full between meals. For one, apples are a higher-fiber fruit, meaning your body will take longer to digest it. And two, using a nut butter like almond, cashew, or peanut butter will provide you with some protein and healthy fats, which will also contribute to more feelings of satiety.
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