You鈥檝e fixed those tired eyes in a snap. You鈥檝e crushed your AM cycling or kickboxing class. You鈥檝e even decluttered every room in the house. Go ahead and give yourself a virtual high five: You deserve it. And yet now, as afternoon creeps in, you can feel your energy crash and burn like a B-list country tune. It turns out you can supercharge or sabotage your energy levels with a quick visit to the kitchen or your office pantry. Read on for New York City-based nutritionist Lisa Hayim鈥榮 top food picks for strong, sustained energy, as well as the worst slump-inducing offenders.

Best Afternoon Snack Foods


1. Whole Fruit: 鈥淲hole fruits, especially those with the skin, provide your body with sugar quickly. The fiber from the skin helps to stabilize the blood sugar, filling you up and leaving you with a burst of energy,鈥 says Hayim. 鈥淒ainty and delicious, my favorite is a pink lady apple.鈥 Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of your fruit du jour for an added burst of flavor and a bit of metabolism-boosting prowess.


2. Celery and Watermelon: If you鈥檙e anything like us, come 3pm, we鈥檙e crawling straight for our secret goodies drawer at the office to whip out a bag of chips or candy bar for a hit of energy. But brace yourself: 鈥淥ftentimes, we are actually thirsty when we think we are hungry,鈥 shares Hayim. Sometimes though, a glass of good ol鈥 H2O ain鈥檛 gonna do the trick, and you crave a little crunch. Enter: Water-based fruits and veggies. 鈥淐elery and watermelon are two of the most hydrating foods that still require chewing to break down, which will help you out with feeling satiated. Celery is 96 percent water and provides sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Watermelon is 95 percent water and rich in vitamin C.鈥


3. Sweet Potato: 鈥淪weet potatoes are a high-carbohydrate food, but have a low glycemic index,鈥 says Hayim. Translation: 鈥淭hey鈥檒l not only provide energy to our bodies, but also to our brains, without having blood sugar rise and fall quickly.鈥 Allow us to suggest 23 ways to rock sweet potatoes all year long.

4. Oatmeal: 鈥淎lthough traditionally thought of as a breakfast food, a third of a cup of uncooked oats is a great small meal to power you through the workday. It is rich in carbohydrates and fiber, keeping you full and on track until dinner time,鈥 offers Hayim. Make sure to stick to the unflavored varieties and to check the label to make sure no icky additives are in the mix. In the mood for something different? Swirl in a tablespoon or so of your favorite olive oil with some fresh herbs for a savory twist, or try one of our savory oatmeal recipes (yes, that鈥檚 bacon in there!).

Worst Afternoon Snack Foods


1. Sweetened Yogurt: 鈥淲hile unsweetened greek yogurt can be a great protein-packed pick-me-up, some of the more traditional ones, especially the flavored ones, are packed with added sugars,鈥 comments Hayim. 鈥淗igh intake of sugars causes our blood sugar to shoot up, giving us a quick 鈥榟igh,鈥 followed by a crash, leaving us feeling tired, cranky and wanting more sugar. This cycle is vicious and may contribute to weight gain as well as serious diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.鈥 Time to pass that plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt, please.


2. Trail Mix: It might be leaving happy trails all over your Pinterest and Instagram streams, but this sweet medley can bring a serious dose of Bad News Bears. 鈥淪tore-bought or packaged trail mix usually don鈥檛 contain the 鈥榤ost healthy鈥 nuts and fruits. Oftentimes, they鈥檙e also loaded up with sugar or contain addicting flavors like chocolate that make it hard to portion. Peanuts, a high-fat low-protein nut, are usually the bulk of the mix and can鈥檛 provide you with the quick burst of energy you need. If you can鈥檛 make your own mix, skip it,鈥 Hayim advises.


3. White Rice or Cereal: 鈥淭hese foods are easily converted into glucose in your body. First, they give you that sharp rise and feel-good vibe,鈥 explains Hayim. 鈥淏ut that quickly abandons you, making you feel tired, grumpy and hungry.鈥 Instead, try whole grain crackers with a smothering of almond butter and a piece of fruit to triumph over the reign of hangriness.

Do you have a favorite pick-me-up snack? Tweet us your tastiest @BritandCo!