Eating Paleo isn’t as convenient as other diets and quite often the place where people fall down is when they are on the hunt for a quick fix in between meals. The snack market is, in my opinion, still very underdeveloped and largely saturated with grain-based options such as oat or granola bars, making it even more difficult and confusing when faced with limited options. The answer? Preparation and a little insight into which foods provide the best energy boosts.
If we don’t get sufficient nutrients from food, we suffer from sub-optimal cellular energy metabolism, making us feel tired and sluggish. Drinking enough water is essential in order to assimilate the nutrients…
There are many processed foods which provide a lot of calories – such as biscuits, chocolate, fizzy drinks, etc. which are often misconceived to equal a lot of energy due to their high sugar content. Some people may believe that sugar gives you energy. The truth is that sugar gives you a false energy boost which results in your cells becoming starved when the rush wears off, resulting in that well known ‘crash’. Eating foods high in sugar in fact does the opposite and leaves you feeling sluggish and dependent on more sugar to regain the initial ‘high’.
For optimal energy metabolism – the process which converts food to energy, we need to consume foods which have a dense vitamin and mineral constitution and we all know refined sugar is not on that list. Foods high in antioxidants also work to eradicate fatigue by staving off free-radicals and harsh chemicals. Finding these foods on a Paleo diet isn’t difficult, as all primal food is nutrient dense. It’s a matter of knowing which are the best and how to make them easily portable.
If you are someone who skips breakfast due to time restraints, these options are perfect for setting you up for the day. Likewise if you’re running from work straight to the gym, you’ll need a little something to keep your energy levels up for maximum performance. Having snacks to hand will prevent you from getting ratty and reaching for a quick fix that you might regret later.
7 Energy Boosting Portable Paleo Snacks
If we don’t get sufficient nutrients from food, we suffer from sub-optimal cellular energy metabolism, making us feel tired and sluggish. Drinking enough water is essential in order to assimilate the nutrients; you could eat the healthiest foods in the universe but without enough water consumption, they will be lost. Ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day and this won’t be a problem. Thirst is often misunderstood to be hunger and quite often a glass of water will provide you with an energy boost in the form of better hydration. Get into the habit of sinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up and it will give you a whole load of energy to use to get to the coffee machine!
2. Dried Fruit (Apricots/Mango/Dates)
Dried fruit is a good way to pick up some energy in the form of natural sugars but it does contain a high amount so if you are watching your sugar intake in general, limit consumption or substitute for fresh fruit. Apricot and mango contain vitamin C and fibre which will keep you feeling full. One of my favourite recipes is mango and almond energy balls which I make by blitzing dried mango with whole almonds in a processor with a little melted coconut oil and then forming into balls for a delicious little pick me up. Another alternative would be blitzed dates, nut butter, and cacao nibs. Keep them in the fridge.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains a unique form of saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which can be used by the liver as energy rather than being stored whilst simultaneously boosting your metabolism. The wonders of coconut oil are being sung from every hymn sheet at the moment so you are bound to have heard some of the hype. The question is: How to use it? The best way to use it on a daily, portable snack basis would be to add it to smoothies or as mentioned above, use it to form your own energy bites. Unless you’re cool with spooning it into your mouth at your desk at work that is.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are perfectly portable and more readily available than a lot of other snacks – they’re probably your best bet if all you’ve got is a corner shop. They contain high amounts of omega-3, especially walnuts, which has been found in studies to improve memory, brain function, and mood which are all directly linked to focus and energy. Both nuts and seeds contain a wealth of nutrient-dense calories which scares a lot of calorie counters. Grab a mixed bag or make your own and store in a mini tupperware to snack on but try not to consume more than 1-2 handfuls daily.
As well as my morning coffee(s) and water, I swear by avocado as keeping me full until lunch and providing me with enough energy to function. They are still a little on the expensive side but you get what you pay for. They’re as transportable as a banana (actually more so because they don’t go brown when knocked around!) – just remember to bring a spoon! I sometimes just take the top off (like a boiled egg) and scoop it out on the bus! They are also rich in fats, monounsaturated which your body uses to create energy quickly.
The classic. It’s obvious but it had to have a place on this list because it’s been there for us for ever. It’s easy, delicious, cheap and performs it’s job spectacularly. The potassium content regulates hydration levels and the nutrients provide you with a slow burning energy release.
Coffee is amazing. Bulletproof coffee is even better. If you don’t know, now you know. Bulletproof coffee is made from ‘upgraded coffee’ free from moulds and funghi (better for candida overgrowth sufferers), medium-chain triglyceride oil (similar to coconut oil), and grass-fed butter, all blended to produce a creamy drink which produces fantastic results – more stimulating than regular coffee and without the crash. It’s available predominantly online although some cafes are starting to stock it now. Remember to use caffeine wisely – the more you take the more you’ll need to reach a stimulated level, but don’t feel bad enjoying one of Mother Nature’s best energy sources.
What are your favourite portable Paleo snacks? Feel free to share by leaving a comment using the comments box below.
- Aronson, D. (2009). Top 10 Energy-Boosting Nutrition Strategies. Retrieved 2 January, 2016, from http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20409925,00.html
- Bennett, A. (2015). How to Take Coconut Oil For Energy. Retrieved 2 January, 2016, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/128275-coconut-oil-energy/