Snack smart for your afternoon energy boost

/ Source: TODAY

With a long stretch of time between lunch and dinner, we often need an afternoon snack to keep energy levels from tanking. But grabbing the right snack can make the difference between powering through the rest of your day or experiencing an all-out energy crash.

Follow our tips as part of the "16 to '16 Challenge" with lifestyle correspondent Jenna Wolfe and diet expert Joy Bauer.

Pistachios are a great on-the-go snack.Casey Barber

Aim for a snack that’s no more than 200 calories and look for one that boasts both high-quality carbohydrates — such as fruit, vegetables, or whole grains — and protein such as nuts, seeds, yogurt, or beans. A few ideas:

  • Pistachios are a great on-the-go snack, and in moderation they're low-cal, with 30 nuts packing only 100 calories. Plus, the process of cracking the nuts slows down the pace of your eating.
  • Or think in combos. Pack an apple and peanut butter, whole grain crackers and reduced-fat string cheese. Or your favorite veggies —like bell pepper sticks and carrots — combined with hummus, yogurt dip, or bean dip.

Need more snack ideas?

Quick, protein-rich snacks like cottage cheese with flax seeds or hard-boiled eggs will boost your energy and keep your blood sugar stable while filling you up until dinner time.

For recipes:

Yogurt dip

Bean dip

Low-sugar snack suggestions

For more of the "16 to '16 Challenge" go here