Satisfying and Healthy Snack Ideas for Mid-Afternoon Cravings
Here are some tips and tricks for dealing with the afternoon munchies so that you can still eat well without going overboard.
Some days I think I could probably set my watch by the time the afternoon munchies hit me. It usually happens around 3:30 pm. If I don’t take a break and satisfy my craving for a snack, I start to feel grumpy, sluggish, and irritable.
The only thing that is not predictable about the mid-afternoon snack attack is what I’ll be craving. Will I want something sweet? Am I going to yearn for something salty. What does my mouth want in terms of texture? Something smooth and creamy or something crispy and crunchy? Liquid? Solid? Hot? Cold? And on and on it goes!
My local grocery store flyer had some tips and tricks for dealing with the afternoon munchies so that you can still eat well without going overboard. I believe that snacking, when done right and with an eye to choosing wholesome foods, can actually be good for keeping your digestive system and metabolism fired up and active all day.
One of the best ways to fight the afternoon snack attack is to plan ahead. Be prepared before the munchies strike! Pack your own lunch and make sure to include some healthy treats to have on hand in the afternoon. I’ve listed a few suggestions from the article as well as some of my own ideas. Whether your mouth craves snacks that are salty or sweet, creamy or crunchy, there’s something for every one of your restless little tastebuds!
How sweet it is!
- Fruit, frozen, fresh, or dried. Frozen grapes, dried apricots and banana chips are extra sweet options if your sweet craving is strong.
- A cup of decaf coffee with your favorite low fat creamer and ½ tablespoon of sugar. If find this treat, with a few tea biscuits helps satisfy my craving for something sweet and chocolaty. Of course, you could also have a cup of hot cocoa or chai tea as well if you don’t drink coffee.
- A few squares of dark chocolate. Chose one with at least 60% cocoa for a heart-healthy boost.
Salty and savoury saves the day!
- Cut a hard-boiled egg in half. Add a tiny squirt of Dijon mustard and some paprika and fool your mouth into thinking you just had a devilled egg.
- Low-fat cheese, high-fiber crackers, and salsa. This one is my favorites. It tastes like I’m eating nachos!
- Pickles and/or olives.
- Roasted nuts and seeds.
Punch up your snacks with a bit of crunch.
Sometimes what your mouth really craves is not food, but to be entertained. Snack foods that offer an extra bit of crunchy texture can cure your mouth of boredom.
- Raw, crisp veggies that are not too cool but not room temperature either.
- Unbuttered popcorn or mini popcorn cakes.
- Low-salt pretzels.
- Roasted chickpeas or wasabi peas.
- Crunchy whole-grain granola bar.
- Japanese rice crackers.
- Vegetable chips (These are chips made from dried yams, carrots, parsnips, much like a banana chip. If you have a food dehydrator, you could try making your own veggie chips and then seasoning them with your favorite spices.)
Creamy and oh-so-dreamy
- Low-fat cream cheese
- Low-fat, no sugar added yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed avocado spread on high fiber crackers
- Smooth peanut butter or other types of nut butters
If you want these snacks to really pack a punch and help you take the edge off your cravings, combine the three main food categories together (protein, fruit or veggie, and a carbohydrate). Your snack will feel like a satisfying mini-meal.
For example, here are a few of my favorite mid-day mini-snack combos are:
- Whole wheat crackers, a small portion of cheese, and a few grape tomatoes.
- A banana and a small yogurt cup with granola sprinkled on top.
- Mandarins, a few pieces of dark chocolate, and some tea biscuits also take the edge off my craving for chocolate.
- Ants on a log (Peanut butter, celery, and raisins. You can also make it with cream cheese and raisins or nuts).
As long as you are keeping your portions reasonably sized, there’s no need to worry about overdoing it and ‘spoiling your dinner’ as my Mom used to say.
(Sources: Thrifty Foods Wellness, Jan 2016, Images: Pixabay)
© 2017 Sadie Holloway