Smart snacks to overcome the afternoon slump
Do your energy levels take a dive around 3 p.m. everyday? Do you find yourself craving something sweet or salty around that time? If you answered yes, you might need a snack. Having a mid-day snack is a great way to keep your energy levels up between lunch and dinner.
Unfortunately, typical American snacks are high in calories, fat, sodium or added sugar and often leave you feeling…snackier. However, if you build your snacks around whole foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains you can stay fuller longer. Because these foods are typically lower in calories, they are a more satisfying way to keep your energy levels up.
Before you nibble
Check in with your hunger. Are you really hungry or just bored or maybe even thirsty? Make sure you are addressing what your body really needs before reaching for a snack.
Plan ahead for snack success
- Build Your Own: Make your own snack mix with unsalted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, popcorn (plain), whole grain cereal like cheerios or life.
- Prep Ahead: Pack grab and go snacks by portioning your snack foods into baggies or containers when you get home from the store or at the beginning of your work week.
- Keep Portions in Check: Snacks shouldn’t be large, but just enough to tide you over till your next meal. Think 100 – 150 calories.
- Create Combos: Combine food groups for satisfying snacks. Yogurt and berries, cottage cheese and peaches or tomatoes, apple with peanut butter, whole grain crackers with avocado and swiss cheese.
- Eat Vibrant Veggies: spice up raw vegetables with healthy dips: try hummus, guacamole, salsa, or a homemade greek yogurt dip (see recipes below!).
- Snack on the go. Bring snacks from home when you’re out. Pack water, trail mix, low sugar granola bars, fruit like apples or bananas or carrot sticks for healthy options.
Homemade greek yogurt dips
What makes these snack-able dips so handy? It’s because they can be modified to satisfy sweet and savory cravings alike. Start with one cup plain non-fat greek yogurt and choose your add ins:
- Ranch: 2 tbsp Mrs Dash or ¾ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp worcestershire, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.
- Taco: 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.
- Greek: ¼ cup chopped cucumber, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp fresh dill or parsley.
- Sweet: 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp vanilla.
- Chocolate: 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, ½ tsp vanilla, pinch of cinnamon.
Each ¼ cup serving contains approximately: Calories: 30 – 62, Protein: 6 grams. Carbohydrate: 2 – 10 grams. Note that the sweet dips typically contain more calories and carbohydrates.
Megann Dastrup, MDA, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She completed her Masters in Dietetics Administration, dietetic internship and undergraduate studies through Utah State University. She is a certified health coach through ACE fitness and has a certificate of training in adult weight management as well as in child and adolescent weight management.
Christa Marney, RDN, LD has always had an appetite for being active and staying healthy. She is a certified intrinsic coach and completed training in adult weight management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.