Posted: Mar 10, 2013 6:00 PM
 
Being a mom keeps you on your toes, but there’s always that afternoon slump. Unfortunately, it usually happens as soon as the kids get up from their naps. Choose the right afternoon snack and watch your energy soar.

When you've been on the run all day it's bound to hit hard — the afternoon slump. It is tempting to counteract the tiredness with a soda, some chocolate or a few cookies, but that sugary stuff will backfire and make you more tired later. Need some better ideas for foods that can give you more energy and keep you going until bedtime? We've got you covered.

Why not sugar?

The calories you take in by eating sugary foods provide no nutritional value to your body at all.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, and does deliver energy to your tired body. But the energy derived from sugary snacks and sodas will be short-lived and you will be left even more tired when your blood sugar takes a dive later. The calories you take in by eating sugary foods provide no nutritional value to your body at all — that's why they are sometimes referred to as empty calories. Having a sweet snack when you are tired sets up a cycle that's hard to break, and you quickly find yourself eating sugar every few hours and still feeling lethargic.

Mix it up with mini-meals

To keep blood sugar levels consistent and keep your energy levels up, it's best to eat something every few hours. Each mini-meal should be a combination of carbohydrates (carbs), protein and healthy fats. Your body uses carbs for energy, and adding a bit of protein and healthy fat makes them more filling and helps satisfy your body for longer periods of time. Fiber also helps the energy from carbs release into your bloodstream more slowly, which gives you energy for a longer period of time. Here are a few ideas for some pick-me-up mom snacks.

Nuts

walnuts

One ounce of nuts — especially almonds or walnuts — provides protein, healthy fats, fiber and crunch.

Add some fruit

apples

Apples are sweet, crunchy and a good source of fiber, as are oranges or bananas.

Hummus


hummus and crackers

A great source of protein, hummus will give you a longer-lasting boost of energy when paired with veggies or whole wheat crackers.

Greek yogurt


Greek yogurt

Mix some Greek yogurt (high in protein) with a bit of fresh fruit and a spoon or two of granola for a filling and sweet treat to take you through the afternoon.

Popcorn

popcorn


Who knew? Popcorn is a whole grain with fiber to fill you up without a lot of calories. If your sweet tooth needs a fix, mix in a small amount of chocolate chips or M&Ms.

A word about water
^

We know — you've heard this before. Your body needs water every day, whether it comes from food sources (like fruits and vegetables or soups) or from your tap. So much of your blood and body fluids are made up of water, even a mild case of dehydration makes your body work harder and get tired more easily. If you aren't crazy about plain water, jazz it up with some lemon slices or a dash of fruit juice. Swapping out even one soda a day for a tall glass of water will keep you more alert and less tired.

Grab a snack and get your energy back — before the kids wake up from their naps.

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