Let us guess: You could probably use a little more energy right about now. We can’t give you extra sleep, but we can share the best pep-you-up snacks courtesy of Melanie Zook, R.D., a nutritionist and mom of two in Landsale, Pennsylvania. Choose from among these foods rich in healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and you’ll go, girl!
Trail mix. Combine nuts and dried fruits with a whole-grain cereal and store in a giant plastic bag. It’s one of Zook’s favorite snacks: "When my daughter was born, I’d keep some in the car and some in the nursery so I was never snack-less!"
Oatmeal. Cook up a big pot on the weekend and store it in the fridge. Warm up a portion and top with nuts, dried or fresh fruit, ground flaxseed, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Vegetable soup. Another great make-ahead food, packed with veggies and beans. Though the canned kind is perfectly lovely too.
A green smoothie. Zook’s signature concoction: a blend of low-fat milk, plain low-fat yogurt, bananas, frozen mango and berries, ice, and baby spinach. "The baby spinach is so fresh and tender that other than the color, you’d never even know it's in there," she says. Zook even uses the recipe to make green ice pops for her 2-year-old.
Natural peanut butter on whole-grain crackers. Satisfying yet super-healthy. Breastfeeding women who have a family history of nut allergies may want to avoid peanuts; discuss it with your doctor.
Quickie quesadilla. Whip up a pot of black or pinto beans and refrigerate. When hunger strikes, warm a whole-wheat tortilla and a couple of spoonfuls of beans, then top with avocado slices and a tablespoon of low-fat plain yogurt. Share with your husband…if you’d like.
Energy bars. They shouldn’t be a daily staple because they’re high in calories, but the occasional energy bar can tide you over and keep you from reaching for the candy at the checkout counter.
Hard-boiled eggs. Keep a bowlful in the fridge and have one with an apple, orange, or pear. Or poach an egg and serve over a toasted whole-wheat English muffin
Yogurt parfait. Make a good-for-you version with low-fat plain yogurt and chopped fresh fruit, with a sprinkling of granola or nuts. Enjoy!