Almost every day there are times when I am hungry but don’t really want a whole meal. This generally occurs mid-morning and especially mid-afternoon around 4 pm. Our bodies have a natural cycle and eating every 4 hours meets the needs. For those who are early risers and thus eat their breakfast early in the morning, naturally their bodies are ready for more fuel by mid-morning, others not so much. Most people find the mid-afternoon snack time the most challenging, including me unless I plan for it.
Depending on where I will be at that mid-afternoon snack time dictates what I eat. Especially if I am going to be out and about, I want to have my snack with me. Otherwise this snack attack will take me straight to a coffee shop for pastry. That pastry will definitely give the “pick me up” calories but I know it won’t last. Not to mention all of those calories will come from refined grains, sugar and fat. To avoid giving in to such impulse snacks planning is key.
Here are some snacks I plan:
- A granola/cereal bar: as a snack I want to make sure it has 200 calories or less, some protein and some fiber. Some my favorites are Kind (nut and spice ones), Lara Bars and even the Nature’s Path Macaroon Crunch.
- An apple and some nuts (fistful) or low-fat cheese stick: a no-prep snack that is easy to carry and delivers the right crunch, taste and nutrients.
- Dried Apricots and Almonds: a snack-bag size zipped bag works perfect to tote these around. A serving would be 4 apricots and a fistful of almonds.
- Lightly salted cashews (fistful) and 2 dates: Again, a wonderful mix of taste, texture and nutrients.
- Greek Yogurt: Especially if there is refrigeration available, keeping greek yogurt handy is so easy. There are lots of flavors and it lasts a while if you don’t happen to eat it right away. My favorite is Siggi’s Orange Ginger or just plain vanilla.
- Need something warm? A mocha using skim milk does the trick. Sip away and enjoy the warmth.
- Cut up colored peppers and take some along with low fat cheese stick or light spreadable cheese wedges. They are so handy!
- Keeping a jar of nut-butter around is also helpful as it can be paired with fruit or vegetables. I love the combination of apple and peanut butter.
- Boiled eggs can also make an easy snack. I keep them unpeeled so they are easy to tote around. Pair them with a few Triscuit crackers to add a variety of texture and taste.
- When it comes to vegetables my personal favorites are sugar snap peas and edamame. Fresh sugar snap peas don’t much prep other than washing. Edamame is available frozen, either whole bean pods or shelled beans. Either way a minute in the microwave oven and you have a snack ready.
Be prepared for the snack attacks. Expect them. It’s natural.