As Americans we love to snack almost as much as we want to lose weight. It’s the middle of the day, and like clockwork, your energy begins to wane. You feel that slump coming on but have hours to go before you can turn off the workday.
Eating a healthy snack can help you recharge — but choose carefully. Those easy-to-grab candy bars can actually sap your energy. After that initial sugar rush, you start to crash.
Instead, come prepared with healthy, nutritious snacks that will do the trick and give you the energy boost you need to make your day as productive as possible. Here are a few suggestions:
Fresh Fruit – If you want something crunchy, bite into an apple. If you crave sweet, have a banana. Fresh fruit offers a range of flavors for your taste buds and the nutrients from real, unprocessed food. Take your pick from pears, oranges, berries or whatever seasonal produce your area has to offers.
Dried Fruit — Try raisins, dates or banana chips for that afternoon pick-me-up. But remember, a little goes a long way as dried fruit has lots more calories than fresh fruit. Take apricots, for example. One cup of fresh apricots has 74 calories, while the equivalent amount of dried apricots has 313 calories. Portion control is key for this tasty treat.
Veggies – Slice some carrot or celery sticks for a crunchy snack. Or steam some edamame for another healthy option. Fresh veggies, like cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and grape tomatoes can satisfy that mid-day hunger. And if you want a dip, choose hummus or greek yogurt with dill.
Yogurt – Rich in protein, calcium and other nutrients, yogurt provides a super healthy snack. Choose plain yogurt and add your own fruit, avoiding the added sugar of flavored yogurts.
Popcorn – When air popped, this filling, low-calorie treat has only 30 calories per cup. Pop some the night before, bring it to work and munch away. Don’t be fooled by the microwave version, which is loaded with buttery flavor, salt, preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Trail Mix – Make your own healthy version of this treat by combining nuts, seeds, dried fruit, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins and cinnamon. Mix together any combination of healthy ingredients that appeal to you. For some ideas, check out these 21 trail mix suggestions.
Nuts – Loaded with nutrients, minerals and healthy fats, a handful of nuts can help you lose weight, feel full between meals, and enjoy other health benefits. Choose pistachios, peanuts, walnuts or almonds, to name a few. Avoid flavored or heavily salted nuts as well as those roasted in oil.
String cheese – If you love dairy, choose single-serving string cheese, chock full of calcium and protein.
The next time hunger strikes in the middle of the afternoon, come prepared. Skip the vending machine, reach into your desk and take a break with a healthy snack.
And, if you need a nudge, set CraveMate with your mid-afternoon slump reminder!