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 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.”
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.