words by, ballerina and H&H Food Editor, Saskia Gregson-Williams

As your energy starts to flag, whether your working hard at your desk or power walking to your next meeting, the urge to grab a high-fat, empty-calorie chocolate bar can easily overpower everything you know about superficial sugar-enduced comas and energy crashes. Now, with so many healthy and organic options on the market there really is no excuse for you not to fuel up well and perform (in any activity) to your optimum.

Training as a ballerina I dance an average of around five hours a day, with a break of half an hour in between lessons. Dancing continuously for this length of time can be incredibly knackering without the most efficient fuel to power me through. As my hours increased and I started to feel the pull I experimented with snacks that would sustain me without making me feel heavy or bloated (not preferable whilst wearing a leotard!). Through trying and testing, I have compiled my favorite energy boosting snacks that compliment your everyday ventures.

The Sweet

Gourmet Raw Brownies: Healthy brownies? Oh yes. These organic raw naturally high-mineral brownie bars are made with the superfood cacao, cashews, dates, almond butter and many more low GI, high-energy foods. Protein rich, nutrient dense, another case of an indulgent tasting yet brilliantly healthy snack. http://www.gourmetraw.com/products/brownies (DF, WF, GF, SF, VG)

Nakd Bars: What you see is what you get with these natural dried fruit and nut bars. My favourite from the Nakd Wholefoods family is the Cashew Cookie and Cocoa Orange bars with 4 grams of nutty protein goodness. Although all the bars are delicious, my pick packs that extra nutritional punch with the best balance of protein to carbohydrate. www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk (DF, GF, WF, SF, VG)

UpRaw: These tasty, protein-rich ‘chocolate’ flavoured nibblets supply lots of wholesome energy with 100% raw natural ingredients, including cacao, coconut, walnuts and cinnamon (yum, I know!). Unlike even some of the ‘healthiest’ sugar-free sports bars these babies contain absolutely no e numbers, thickeners or additives that are normally added to increase shelf life or to help consistency.  After snacking on these not only is ‘hitting the wall not an option’, but an impossibility! http://www.up-raw.com/what.php (WF, GF, SF, VG)

The Savoury

Clearspring Organic Roasted Seeds, Soya and Goji Berries: Clearspring’s organic snacks are incredibly tasty and always make it into my shopping basket. Their new Roasted Seeds, Soya and Goji Berries has to be my favourite of their flavoursome combinations. Roasted Soya beans are a great vegan source of protein, merely one cup provides 68 grams, eight times the amount of protein in a glass of milk! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of blood-building and energy-boosting iron, essential when trying to maintain strong lean muscles. The goji berries add another taste as well as an extra nutritional element to this already wonderful mixture. Goji berries are one of the most nutritionally dense foods, hence their rather famous superfood ranking. Not only is this sweet berry an energy booster for the athletic but also contains the compound betaine, which helps build strong muscles and aids the prevention of tight and aching muscles due to inflammation. www.clearspring.co.uk (DF, GF, WF, SF, VG)

Gourmet Raw Red Pepper Crisps: ‘Crisps’ in general are not raved about in the health food industry, since they are often loaded with saturated fat and weird, unnatural additives, definitely not the gas you want pumped into your engine! Gourmet Raw have taken on the stereotype of the crisp, and created this raw powerhouse of a 100% chemical and preservative free natural snack. Ingredients include sprouted buckwheat, flaxseed, carrot, red bell pepper and lots of natural seasoning. High in vitamin, omegas, protein and fibre this munch will propel you into action! http://www.gourmetraw.com/products/healthy-crisps-delicious-satisfying-and-guilt-free (DF, WF, GF, SF, VG)

Rude Health’s Rye Oaty Buscuits: These sustaining Rye & Oat biscuits come in bundles of four, the perfect portion size to fulfil your hunger pangs as well as restoring some vava-voom to your body and mind. The deliciously dense and nutty flavour of the rye can compliment any pre- or post- workout meal, but is totally delicious on its own. I like mine with almond butter. Heaven. http://www.rudehealth.com/our-food/snacks/rye-oaty/ (DF, WF, VG, SF)

The Beverage 

Beet-It Organic Beetroot Juice: Beetroot Juice is widely shown to have major benefits in helping and improving athletic stamina due to its high nitrate content. Nitrates rapidly bring increased levels of oxygen, nutrients and blood to muscles, essentially easing the task at hand. This applies both to athletes and non-athletes that are effected by limitations in their various activity. As research continues, it has further been shown that beetroot juice may provide the necessary nitrates to substantially increase muscular endurance. Although, it has to be said, it’s not the tastiest drink, grin and bare it because its benefits surpass the beety taste. I alternatively enjoy adding it to my breakfast smoothies. Add the juice shot, kiwi, half a banana, one cup coconut water/oat milk for a creamier substance. Or add to a cleansing Beet, Carrot and Apple Juice. Experiment! www.beet-it.com (DF, WF, GF, SF, VG)

Jax Coco Coconut Water: Rehydrate after your workout with Jax Coco. Coconut water is low in calories but extremely high in rehydrating, nourishing vitamins and minerals. Jax Coco coconut water is naturally isotonic, restoring five essential electrolytes to your body after a sweaty workout. It contains the same amount of potassium as a banana, and nearly 14 times the normal sports drink! Potassium is a brilliant cramp preventer and plays an essential part in  regular muscle contraction. With no added sugars, this 100% natural coconut water is the perfect Hip and Healthy post-performance pick me up! www.jaxcoco.com (DF, WF, GF, SF, VG)

the KEY to eating well:

DF – Dairy-Free

WF – Wheat-Free

GF – Gluten-Free

SF – Refined Sugar-Free

VG – Vegan

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