6 Energy-Boosting Afternoon Snacks

Ditch that coffee in favor of tropical trail mix, nut-butter bites, a protein snack box, or even retro ants on a log to beat your midday slump.

A cutting board with an array of snacks scattered across it.
Tiffany La Forge

It’s 3 p.m. There are still a few hours of work left, and your energy just took a nosedive. We’ve all been there. But instead of reaching for even more caffeine, which you should limit after lunchtime, what if you could fight that afternoon slump head-on with nutritious snacks?

To get through the infamous midday energy crash, sugar can be appealing. (We’ve all reached for a frothy Starbucks frappe or that desk-drawer candy bar.) While caffeine or simple carbs like sugar provide a quick boost of energy, that energy wears off quickly (or, in the case of coffee, could keep you revved up well after wind-down time at night). For sustained, real energy and performance, it’s better to focus on foods that contain a balance of nutrients, such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, and complex carbs.

When you’re looking for nutritious energy to last through the afternoon and keep you out of the “hangry zone” until dinner, reach for one of these six energy-boosting snacks.

Tropical trail mix

Tropical trail mix spilling out of a measuring cup.
Tiffany La Forge

Trail mix is a popular energy-boosting snack for a good reason. The combination of nuts and dried fruit provides sustained energy, healthy fats, fiber, and protein.

This trail mix gets an island twist with dried tropical fruit, macadamia nuts, and coconut. An antioxidant- and nutrient-rich mix, this recipe also contains plenty of vitamin C to help fight fatigue.

Serves 6


  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut chips 
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts 
  • ½ cup salted almonds 
  • ¼ cup chopped dried mango 
  • ¼ cup chopped dried pineapple 
  • ½ cup banana chips 
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Store trail mix in an airtight container or portioned bags for easy, on-the-go snacks.

Greek yogurt or cottage cheese

Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese make an excellent base for endless snacking possibilities.

Both Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are packed with protein to keep you full and provide sustained energy. Additionally, the B vitamins found in both help the body to convert food into glucose for energy. Gut-healthy probiotics, readily available in yogurt, can help to fight chronic fatigue.

Add Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to your favorite smoothies or top a small bowl with your choice of fresh fruit, granola, nut butter, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Peanut butter energy bites

Peanut butter energy bites stacked up in a metal cup
Tiffany La Forge

When you need a pick-me-up, energy bites definitely come in handy. Not only are they delicious and convenient snacks, but (as their name implies) they also provide a nice boost of energy.

Peanut butter is a satiating snack that is filled with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This winning combination helps conquer hunger and keep blood sugar levels stable. Additionally, peanut butter contains B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc, which are all essential to energy production.

Fiber-rich oats ensure that your energy levels stay stable, thanks to slow-to-digest complex carbs, while chia seeds provide an additional nutrient boost and omega-3s for brain health.

These bites are a great on-the-go snack, with one ball containing 120 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

Makes 20 energy bites


  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats 
  • ¼ cup unflavored protein powder or collagen 
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds 
  • Pinch salt 
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter 
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • ⅓ cup mini dark chocolate chips 
  1. Mix the oats, protein, chia seeds, and salt together in a large.
  2. Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix with the dry ingredients until a dough forms.
  3. Gently stir in the mini chocolate chips.
  4. Form the energy bites into 20 evenly sized balls. Chill in the fridge until firm.

Hummus and whole wheat pita

When you feel your energy beginning to dwindle, take a page from the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and snack on hummus.

Nutrient-dense chickpeas contain a host of energizing benefits, including 14.5 grams of protein and 12.8 grams of fiber per cup. Chickpeas are also rich in iron, which is essential to energy production and focus.

Drizzle hummus with heart-healthy olive oil and pair with fiber-rich whole wheat pita bread for a balanced snack.

Ants on a log

Ants on a log arranged on a white plate.
Tiffany La Forge

This isn’t just for kids: Crisp celery, raisins, and nut butter make for an energizing snack that anyone can enjoy. Feel free to stick with tried-and-true peanut butter or try cashew, almond, or sunflower seed butter. Similarly, you can also swap raisins for dried cranberries.

Nuts and seeds are naturally high in essential fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and fatigue. Celery is hydrating, and a good source of vitamin K and folate. The sugar in raisins adds a touch of sweetness and a burst of welcome energy.

DIY protein-rich snack box

Skip the expensive store-bought snack boxes and create your own at home. Meal-prep small portions of your favorite protein, fiber, and complex carb snacks for a convenient, customized creation.

Some great combinations include:

  • Half a hard-boiled egg, handful of almonds, celery sticks 
  • Guacamole, red bell pepper strips, high-protein crackers  
  • Turkey jerky, a few cheddar cheese cubes, whole-grain flatbread 
  • Apple slices, pistachio nuts, small wedge of Brie cheese 
  • String cheese, baby carrots, grapes 
  • Turkey pepperoni, olives, artichoke hearts 

The takeaway

Incorporate healthy snacks that are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs to fight midday fatigue and get a boost of sustained energy.

While reaching for a quick energy boost such as refined sugar or caffeine can be very tempting, these nutrient-packed snacks will provide a much more sustained source of energy to get you through your workday and beyond.

To start your day on the right foot, eat a satisfying and energy-boosting breakfast. And in general, be sure to drink enough water throughout the day and calculate the right amount of sleep you need to wake up refreshed.