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berries are great for snacking

Berries and cheese or almonds also make for great snacking.

Today, let’s talk about one solution to a common workday struggle: energy management.

I crash pretty hard at 2pm, which is unfortunate because that’s also when my workday typically begins. It took approximately 1.5 seconds of looking into the problem to see that nutrition is a huge factor in my energy cycles. I have to do some proactive snacking if I want any hope of sustained productivity, and odds are good you have the same issue at some point in your day. But hey! There’s hope for folks like us!

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For some, coffee, chocolate, or another pick-me-up are the go-to solution. And while these can be tasty, they aren’t necessarily the most effective. Or the healthiest.

Here are 3 go-to snacks that are nearly entirely in “whole food” form, which in my mind means minimum work and maximum benefit. (And if your grocery store is like my grocery store, everything is available year-round and even pre-prepared, if that’s your style.)

1. Carrots and Peanut Butter

Carrots are so magical, they should be mandatory – and I say that as someone who basically hates carrots. What made me a carrot convert was some research on how they help us regulate our hormones. Only raw carrots “work” (it has to do with the vegetable fiber) – and my trick for getting them down is dipping them in a little tub of peanut butter. Bulk + protein = where did the time go and how did I get this superhero(ine) cape?

2. Boiled Eggs

Some people say eggs are the perfect food. I’d put my family’s generations-old chocolate cake recipe at the top of that list, but eggs are still pretty rad. They’re great sources of A and B vitamins, and they provide iodine and selenium, which are good for the thyroid. The protein and fat content keep blood sugar balanced, which is a winner for both your energy and your heart. Season them with salt, pepper, paprika, celery salt, hot sauce, or even a smear of mayo and mustard for a “lazy deviled egg” type of thing. Or be ultra-lazy like me, and eat them plain.

3. Watermelon

Watermelon has also been nominated for the “Best Food of All Time” award in recent years, which validates an oft-told family story about So-and-So the POW who was fed loads of watermelon and came back home in better health than he probably “should” have. The long and short of it is that watermelon is rich in lycopene, amino acids, beta carotene, vitamin C, and flavanoids (plant-based antioxidants). These are all things that support healthy skin, eyes, organs, bones, and blood – good things. Slice yours like this if you enjoy the satisfaction of a good chomp – kiddos optional.

My biggest workday struggle is energy management – what’s yours?

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A version of this post originally appeared at Create As Folk