Afternoon snacks to help you beat the 3pm slump
When 3pm rolls around, it’s easy to give in to the office biscuit jar or chocolate stash in your desk drawer for a quick burst of energy. And while enjoying these every now and then isn’t going to hurt in the context of a balanced diet, eating too much too often will spike your intake of saturated fat, sugar and sodium, which can be detrimental to your heath in the long haul. So, to give you a helping hand with making a healthy snack selection, we’ve rounded up our top ten dietitian-approved choices that are perfect for an afternoon pick me up.
1. You’ll be pleased to hear that cheese makes the cut – but steer clear of creamy varieties like brie and camembert. Reduced-fat ricotta and cottage cheese provides muscle-building protein, and when paired with quality carbs like wholegrain crackers, keeps you feeling full till dinner.
2. Hummus is a chickpea-based dip, making it a great source of fibre to support a healthy gut and protein for muscle maintenance. And here’s a fun fact: chickpeas are classed as a vegetable! Along with chopped veggies like carrot, capsicum or cucumber, this is a light snack that helps you reach your five a day.
3. A great source of gut-loving fibre, muscle-building protein and healthy fats to support your brain and ticker, nuts are a nutrition powerhouse. Aim for a small handful (30 grams) of an unsalted variety to keep you snacking smart.
4. Did you know that popcorn is classed as a wholegrain? That means it contains the fibre-rich outer layer of the grain called the ‘bran’, along with the nutrient-rich core called the ‘germ’. Wholegrains are associated with a range of health benefits, so do yourself a favour and get popping! Plain, unsalted varieties are best.
5. Edamame (read: young soy beans) are super high in protein and fibre. Conveniently, they’re available already shelled and in the frozen section of your local supermarket. Simply thaw and enjoy!
6. Feel like something sweet? Yoghurt is an excellent option that provides calcium for strong bones and teeth. Choose a plain, reduced-fat option and pair it with fruit (our favourite is berries!) for a hint of natural sweetness.
7. Muesli bars are a convenient snack when you’re on the go. Opt for a bar made msotly of rolled oats or nuts, and scan the ingredients list to ensure it has less than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
8. A piece of wholegrain toast topped with natural nut butter ticks all the nutrition boxes. The combination of slow burning energy and healthy fats will keep hunger pangs at bay all afternoon long.
9. Roasted chickpeas are another winner – super tasty and easy to make, too. Roast them at home with different herbs and spices, or simply buy the packaged ones you’ll find in the health food aisle of your local supermarket.
10. Last but not least, you can’t go past a piece of fresh fruit! Rich in fibre for a healthy gut, disease-fighting antioxidants and micronutrients that keep your body working it’s best, your goal is two a day.