The best and worst foods for energy

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

leafy green
Leafy greens are delicious.

A snack is perfect if you’re trying to fight middle-of the-afternoon hunger. It keeps your belly just full enough to stop growling, but plenty of room for dinner. Depending on the time of day, however, it’s a good idea to pick a snack that’ll boost your energy as well. With so many options to munch on, which ones should you choose?

Maybe a yummy doughnut will do the trick. They are easy to carry around and just bursting with flavor! Well… that’s not the only thing they’re loaded with. A typical chocolate ring doughnut (with sprinkles!) from Krispy Kreme has about 23 grams of sugar, or more than half of what you find in a soda can! Can you say sweet sugar crash? As if that wasn’t bad enough, the dessert has less than one gram of fiber, a type of carbohydrate that gives you that full feeling. So, you’ll be hungry again once the mini sugar-induced coma is over! A bagel or grainy fiber-rich wheat bread smeared with bananas is a much safer bet.

If you really want to go all out with a healthy snack, opt for some spinach. There’s a reason Popeye the Sailor Man carried around a pocketful of the vibrant veggies. Spinach is full of B-vitamins, which make it easier for your body to extract energy from food, so you’ll be fully alert and buzzing with energy all the way until dinner time. Your heart and nervous system will be healthier as well!

If spinach seems a little boring, pair it with plain low-fat Greek yogurt. This combo is tasty and contains essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, zinc, and B-vitamins to power you through the day! It also has plenty of proteins, which leave you feeling fuller, longer! Oh yeah, it’s also a great source of probiotics – healthy bacteria that live in your gut. These tiny organisms digest some of your food and provide a healthy boost for the body’s immune system.

If none of these food items sound mouth-watering enough, you can also choose to gobble up beans, watermelon, sweet potatoes, or my personal favorite, blueberries! Just about any raw fruits and veggies will do the trick. Put them in your lunchbox for a healthy school treat, or store some away in your backpack for a yummy, filling after school snack. Your belly will sure be grateful!

Leafy green image courtesy of Nickster 2000 on Flickr.