Snacking often gets a bad rap because it’s commonly associated with all day grazing and a trip to the vending machine.
However, the right kind of snacks can enhance our diet, help support energy, mood and concentration. This in turn allows us to break through the common afternoon slump.
If you are tired of feeling flat and hungry in the afternoons, especially during the cooler months, and think your snack choice may be to blame, here are some tips to help improve your snack game.
First up, avoid caffeine on an empty stomach – this can wreak havoc with blood sugar and despite giving an instant boost to energy and concentration, a crash is likely to follow.
If you must have your 3pm coffee, have it alongside some food containing protein and fat (like a a handful of raw nuts, boiled egg, hummus with seed crackers or can of salmon) to help stabilise blood sugar.
The same goes for snacks rich in refined sugar, like some muesli bars, biscuits, cakes and flavoured yoghurts. The sugar will provide an initial boost of energy but it won’t sustain your energy through the afternoon, so these are best avoided.
The most health-promoting snacks will contain a source of good quality carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats…and veggies are also an added bonus if you can fit it in!
Carbohydrates help to provide a sustained release of energy, provide us with b-vitamins, which aid energy production in the body and helps the body utilise amino acids which in turn can positively impact mood.
Side note – here’s a helpful rundown of what you can and can’t keep in the freezer. Post continues after video.
Protein is key in supporting appetite, slowing the release of sugars into the blood stream and providing us with amino acids to make neurotransmitters from.
Healthy fats also help to increase satiety and satisfaction from foods and support mood.
If you’re unsure which foods fit under each category, here are some good options:
Brown rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, fruit (banana, pear, apple etc), wholegrain crackers, sourdough/seeded bread, baked goods made from wholegrain flours (buckwheat, rye, quinoa, wholemeal etc), oats and root vegetables.