Grace and I often send each other an email at about 3.30pm saying we have hit the biscuit tin – or worse still – the chocolate store! So today when my inbox went ping to herald the arrival of an email about healthy snacks to beat the afternoon slump, I forwarded it immediately to Grace.
We all know about the drop in our blood sugar levels during the afternoon, but rushing for a sugar hit is not the answer as it only gives you a quick hit and then you slump lower than before. So here are a few tips that I have tried over the years which work and are a whole lot better for you.
It comes in its own storage container and tames your sweet cravings with natural fruit sugar, along with 3 grams of fibre (about one serving) to keep you satisfied. Loaded with potassium and containing 10% of your daily requirement, a medium banana has around 110 calories.
A rice cake with some almond butter
This is my own invention and it is delicious, particularly if you find those rice cakes with some kick (usually in the gluten free section) in your supermarket.
3. 6 – 8 oz. serving of unsweetened Greek yogurt
Which contains protein, carbohydrates (lactose – a naturally occurring milk sugar) and, if you choose, a few grams of fat. Plus, a boost of calcium and vitamin D. All for around 90 – 150 calories.
While everyone doesn’t love the tang of plain yogurt, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with some fresh or frozen fruit, or even 1 teaspoon of your favorite jam , which only adds 4 grams of sugar and 16 calories, compared to the sugary add-ins in many yogurts.
Coffee consumed in a latte (or cappuccino)
Can be the perfect pick me up. Studies show that coffee is a healthful beverage, when consumed in moderation. That means limiting daily intake to 400 mg (two large cups of coffee – 16-22 ounces), to provide a boost when you need it. Good for mental focus and one of nature’s own energy boosters, coffee also contains abundant antioxidants. Skip the sugary syrups and loading up with cream.
Stick with low or non-fat milk, the extra protein in the latte boosts energy and supports fullness. And you’ll get added calcium and vitamin D. But if you’re caffeine-sensitive, avoid caffeinated drinks from noon on. And remember that swapping out almond milk will lose the protein boost.
Just a handful of almonds, pistachios or walnuts contains about 160-190 calories. You’ll get heart healthy fat to satisfy your hunger now and later, along with protein, and assorted vitamins and minerals. Serving size matters, and you can downsize to single serving packets (often 100 -130 calories per pack). A one ounce serving of nuts is around 22 almonds, 14 walnut halves, or 47 pistachios. Try the pistachios in the shell to slow down your eating. And a 2 inch Post-it note holds about one ounce of nuts for easy portion control.
Half an avocado filled with low fat cottage cheese
Totals 212 calories. I know it seems like a lot of fat, but remember, it’s the healthy fat your body needs. It’s very low in saturated fat, which is the unhealthy fat. So snack away!