Mid-afternoon is prime snacking time. There is a range of factors in place that encourages you to reach for the vending machine or nip to the shop. But recognizing these factors and planning for snack cravings can be hugely helpful in turning afternoon snack time into a nutritious step towards your goals, rather than a treat that leaves you worse off than before.
Go For Fibre
If you need a quick hunger fix while you’re on the go, fibre is great for making your body feel satisfied. Nuts, dried fruit, and oats are excellent sources of fibre. For a tasty and healthy fibre powerhouse, prep some homemade flapjacks. Beware of store-bought flapjacks, however, as these are often sky high in sugar and will give you a sugar peak and crash. This will leave you with more cravings.
Fibre is also a key element to a lunch that helps to ward off the cravings for afternoon treats. A jacket potato, whole grain pasta salad and wild rice are all perfect bases for a fibre rich lunch. The fibre will regulate your blood sugar and assist with digestion. You may find this very beneficial if you tend to have an energy slump that triggers your desire for an unhealthy treat.
Prep Your Protein
Protein provides slow-burning energy that will keep you feeling full for longer.
Pairing your fibre sources with protein creates a balanced and satisfying lunch that will fuel you through your nutritional choices. Pair a jacket potato with beans, or your pasta with tuna or a turkey steak with your wild rice.
Protein snacks are also great to top up those energy levels. A portion of cottage cheese or natural yoghurt will fuel you in a sustainable way. Additionally, chicken mini skewers will be a lean and low-calorie protein powerhouse. You could even slice an apple and add a peanut butter topping to get the sweetness of fructose.
A protein-rich snack is also a great idea if you are heading for your workout in the evening. Your fuel levels will be at their optimum.
In many workplaces, afternoon snacks can be part of the social dynamic of colleagues. A pack of biscuits or a run of sugary lattes is a hard regime to break. Being a hermit during your 9-5 is not a sustainable or enjoyable option. Take control of the scenario by bringing your own nutritious snacks into the office. Bake some nutritious bran muffins, or swap your latte for a green tea.
High Volume Foods
There are tons of tasty snacks you can eat in bulk if you want without feeling as though you’ve gone off a major detour from your nutritional plans. Chopped cucumber, peppers, carrots and tender stem broccoli are all fantastic “volume foods”.
Keep a Tupperware box ready for when the mid-afternoon strikes. Adding in some nutritious dips can also make you feel you’ve got a real afternoon treat. Natural yoghurt with lemon juice and mint is delicious and rich in protein. Similarly, peanut butter, lime juice and chilli make a high protein taste sensation that you’ll happily ditch a biscuit for.
Is It Boredom?
One of the major things to consider when going to get a snack or a treat is your motivation. While it is essential to have enough energy stored if you are planning on a workout in the evening, a Kit Kat isn’t the best way to get prepped.
Are you hungry for fuel, or just looking for a distraction? Reorganise your to-do list so that you’ll be busiest in your usual snack craving time. You may be surprised at how easy it is to avoid high-calorie cravings when your mind is elsewhere and your routine is shaken up.
Pimp Your Hydration
Maintaining adequate hydration is key to avoiding false hunger pangs. Water is ideal, but if you’re looking for something more interesting, try infusing your water so that you get extra benefits as well as great flavor. Mint, cucumber, berries and citrus fruits all flavor water nicely. Put the fruit in your normal water bottle overnight, or in the morning to be ready for the afternoon.
You could also turn your morning juice into an afternoon treat. Bulk juice your fruit and veg and freeze in mason jars. Then take one out in the morning and by the afternoon it will be melted but refreshingly cool. This way, you’ll avoid the murky colours that refrigerated fresh juice can get.