Quick Snacks that Fight Fatigue
Quick Snacks that Fight Fatigue – A major component of all chronic illnesses is fatigue. This fatigue can be debilitating, to the surprise of no chronic illness patient ever. Whether you’re having a great day or you’re struggling with pain, swelling, digestive issues or other forms of bodily rebellion, fatigue is probably still your constant companion. While you can’t eradicate it, you can certainly chip away at it by eating the right foods. In later columns, I’ll go more into depth about some approaches to nutritional health that can be helpful. For now, the operative word for a quick energy boost is protein.
Among its many benefits, protein is quickly and efficiently converted into energy. Everyone needs protein, and there’s even some evidence that chronic disease patients need a bit more than your average bear. Be careful with this, though, particularly if your disease places additional stress on your kidneys. The USDA recommends about 46g of protein per day for women, and 56g for men. That’s the equivalent of 2-3 servings.
To date, I haven’t experimented much with protein shakes or supplements, but I have found success with a few things that are easy to pick up and keep on hand. Each of these snacks reliably gives me an energy boost, even when I haven’t been eating as healthily as I should. Any of these will work for breakfast, lunch or a quick bite between errands. Even if you’re leery of major dietary commitments, consider these ideas on days when you’re dragging or facing a huge to-do list. These quick snacks fight fatigue, are easy to prep and taste great, or I wouldn’t eat them.
- Protein-enriched cereal: There are a number of cold cereals that are loaded with protein, and they’re generally a great source of fiber and other goodies. I’m fond of Kashi GoLean Crunch, mostly because it reminds me of the Sugar Smacks I ate in childhood, but also because it has a whopping 9g of protein per serving. Toss on a sliced banana or a handful of berries and you’re good to go.
- Cheese: If you can tolerate dairy products, cheese is a winner for filling, high-protein snacking. I adore the mini Babybel cheeses—5g of protein in a two bites. Low-fat cottage cheese is also a good option, and some find it more palatable with fruit. I like single-serve water-packed fruit cups when I’m short on time.
- Greek yogurt: It’s been something of a fad recently, but for good reason. A single serving can deliver up to a third of your daily protein. Add fruit and, for a mega energy boost, a handful of Kashi or granola.
- Peanut butter: High protein content aside, I have strong feelings about peanut butter. I’m a child of the seventies, and I grew up on PBJs made of Jif, Wonder Bread and Concord grape jelly (No other combo is truly authentic. I am a purist.) So it was a big deal for me to switch to natural peanut butter, but it’s kind of hard to ignore a nutrition label that simply says ‘peanuts.’ The consistency is a bit different because you don’t have all those saturated fats to give it the creaminess we’re used to, but that amazing textural mix of pb and jelly is unchanged. When I’m not rhapsodizing about the perfect PBJ, I also like peanut butter on toasted whole grain bread, a waffle, or apple slices. Oh, who am I kidding? I eat it with a spoon.
- Oatmeal: It’s not just for breakfast! Steel-cut oats are the healthiest option, but for a quick shot of energy, use a packet of low-sugar flavored oatmeal and nuke it for 3 minutes. If you have extra time, chopped apple is a tasty mix-in.
- Sardines: We all grew up going fishing with our fathers and snacking on sardines and crackers with cheddar cheese, right? No? Okay, maybe that’s why sardines appear to be an acquired taste for some people. If you like them, sardines are loaded with protein and inflammation-busting Omega-3s. Bonus tip: If you cultivate a taste for them, people won’t eat your half of the pizza.
- Eggs: I am so fond of eggs that I will probably devote an entire post to them. Among their other good qualities are 6g of protein per serving—a 3-egg omelet can make a difference on a busy morning. Hard-boiled eggs are great for a quick snack, or can be made into egg salad if that’s to your taste. A quick scramble takes less than 2 minutes, and can be livened up with diced tomatoes, a sprinkle of cheese or some avocado.
Try some of these out, and comment me if you notice a difference! I’m a nutrition enthusiast, but there is much that I have yet to explore. My hope is that we can learn together as I continue to research and publish in this space, so please hit me up with questions, comments and story ideas. I’ll do my best to give you content that you can truly use, so check back here for more ideas! Let us know if you tried these quick snacks that fight fatigue and if they helped.