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Written by The Nutrition Twins
It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, your stomach is grumbling, and your energy is starting to plunge. You’ve had lunch yet dinner is at least three to four hours away. Do you give in to your hunger signals and have a snack? Or do you ignore your stomach and go on with your day?
The good news is that having a small amount of food in between lunch and dinner is a perfect way to curb your hunger and sneak some extra nutrients into your day. Eating something every four hours keeps your blood sugar, or glucose levels more stable. This lends to feeling more energized and alert, since glucose is your brain’s main source of fuel.
Why does is matter what types of foods you choose when snacking? If you reach for less nutrient-rich foods, such as regular potato chips, soda, or candy, a few things may happen. You risk overeating because these items don’t have much “staying power”, since they’re mostly calories without any fiber, protein or nutrients to keep you feeling satisfied. You’ll tend to require more of the food to satisfy your hunger. Also, you miss the opportunity to add energizing and skin-glowing nutrients- to your diet.
Use your afternoon snack as a chance to take in some extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber from wholesome food. Your healthy snack option should be between 100 – 200 calories. You may need the higher amount to tide you over to prevent overeating at dinner if you’ll be going for hours before mealtime. (You can test this to see if the higher calorie snack helps). Go for fewer calories if you’re simply satisfying a craving. Before you run for the bag of potato chips or box of cookies, here are a handful of healthier, satisfying snack options:
- Baby carrots and hummus (2 tablespoons worth is about 50 calories)
- An apple with a level tablespoon of peanut butter (or other nut butter), sprinkled with cinnamon
- Non-fat yogurt topped with one tablespoon of granola
- Edamame (We love it plain, but you can dip in mustard or low-fat ranch dressing if you wish!)
- Cucumber with low-fat cottage cheese
- Several whole-grain crackers with black bean dip and salsa (We like Ry-Krisp crackers-30 to 50 calories a sheet)
If salty and crunchy is what you’re craving, there are healthier alternatives to greasy chips. Pirate’s Booty is all-natural and has half the fat and fewer calories than regular fried potato chips. Their products are delish—and we were just alerted that they now have half-ounce, 65-calorie multipacks, which are great for an office snack.
We always tell our clients that having a reasonably portioned, nutritious snack is a smart way to keep your energy levels up in the afternoon. They also see that whether they want to perform at their best, stay focused or lose weight and fight cravings, it’s critical for their success. Make a handful of these healthy snacks readily available so you’ll always be prepared when that craving comes. Choosing a healthy snack is a win-win – you satisfy your craving while filling in the nutrient gaps!
We work with Pirate’s Booty to help them spread the word about their loot.
Lyssie and Tammy
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For a Get Healthy Guide, Check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure!