The Afternoon Slump
We've all been there: it's 2:30, lunch is a long-distant memory, and dinner is still a long way off. You're hungry, but your options are a sugary muffin from the corner bakery or gummy worms from the office vending machine.
If you're serious about sticking to a healthy diet, it's a good idea to stock your work area with snacks that will nourish you and keep you away from the 99-cent menu. Try to pick foods that are high in protein and fiber, which will keep you fuller longer. Sugary treats need not apply: they're only going to make you feel more tired!
|Serving Size:||1 Ounce, Popped|
|Grams of Fat||12|
|Grams of Fiber||2.3|
Popcorn is airy and light, so you'll feel full without packing in a ton of calories. While air-popped popcorn gives you the best bang for your buck, you'll probably want to get the microwavable version for the office. Low-fat varieties are available, as are 100-calorie packs in kettle corn and movie theater flavors.
One thing to note: be sure to check the ingredient list for hydrogenated fat and stay away from any brand that has this unhealthy fat.
|Serving Size:||¾ cup|
|Grams of Protein||17|
Is there anything Greek yogurt isn't good for? High in calcium and protein, ¾ of a cup of the non-fat yogurt is both satisfying and filling. Add a banana or berries, or a teaspoon of honey or jam if it's too sour on its own. Portion control is easy, as most brands offer single serving-size containers at the market. Greek yogurt is great if you're planning to hit the gym later — all the protein will keep you going!
Steer clear of flavored yogurt: those are more desserts than snacks.
|Serving Size:||1 Egg|
|Grams of Fat||5|
|Grams of Protein||6|
You can make hard-boiled eggs on Sunday night, and start Monday stocked with snacks for the week. Slice them and add a little salt and pepper for flavor.
The lean protein will keep you full until dinner and keep you full for dinner; add a couple of Wasa crackers and you will feel energized enough to hit the gym after the office. At just 78 calories each, they're not likely to break your diet, though they're high in cholesterol.
Apple Slices and Peanut Butter
|Serving Size:||1 Apple & 1 tbsp of |
|Grams of Fiber||17|
|Grams of Fat||12|
|Grams of Protein||8|
If you like your afternoon snacks to be both salty and sweet, slice up an apple and dip it into peanut butter. A small apple has lots of fiber and a satisfying crunch, while the protein and healthy fats in peanut butter make it a filling stopgap between lunch and dinner.
Some peanut butter brands, like Justin's, even make single-serving pouches, which takes the guesswork out of serving sizes.
Low Sodium Beef Jerky
|Serving Size:||1 Ounce|
|Calories||80-130 (depending on brand)|
|Grams of Fat||1|
|Grams of Protein||15|
One of the best things about beef jerky is that its chewiness makes it tough to wolf down, which makes overeating difficult. Though filling, some jerkies are packed with salt, so look for a product that has 300 to 400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving — some have up to 700!
This is a great choice if you're looking to watch your carb intake, but isn't the best if your doctor has specifically mentioned watching your salt.
|Serving Size:||¼ cup|
|Grams of Fiber||8|
|Grams of Protein||14|
If you usually spring for Pringles, try roasted and salted edamame, instead! You'll get the salty crunch you're craving without consuming empty calories — these guys are a nutritional powerhouse.
You can buy dry roasted edamame at most grocery stores, but it's easy to make your own at home if you want to experiment with different seasonings.
|Serving Size:||1 Bar|
|Grams of Fiber||4-7|
|Grams of Protein||5-7|
If you want the ease of a candy bar without any of the preservatives, and tons more fiber, try Larabars. They're a raw granola bar line, so they're all dairy-free and vegetarian-friendly. Many are gluten-free, and they're organic to boot.
Though some of them are high in sugar, the sugar is from healthy and wholesome fruit instead of added sugar and most are packed with fiber and protein. They taste delicious, too!
Carrot Sticks with Hummus
|Serving Size:||4.5 Ounces of Carrots, 1 tbsp of hummus|
Hummus is high flavor and healthy fats — what more could you want from a dip? Bring some carrot sticks from home and get a pretty fulfilling snack for under 100 calories, not to mention almost 430 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and a heaped helping of vitamin C.
These are healthy carbs to boot, so don't worry about blowing your diet.
|Serving Size:||23 Whole Almonds|
|Grams of Fat||14 grams|
|Grams of Protein||6 grams|
Since almonds are calorie-dense, you have to watch your serving size and avoid mindless snacking. Still, they're one of the best ways to get full and stay that way, plus they're compatible with almost any diet.
Choose raw varieties that haven't been sweetened or salted. Soak them in water first if you struggle to digest nuts. To really bring out their flavor, try toasting them lightly in your toaster oven. Bonus: Your kitchen will smell amazing.
Keep Them Close
Keep a mix of snacks nearby so you aren’t tempted by the pretzels and chips in the breakroom. However, it’s best to keep them in a drawer out of sight so you don’t snack mindlessly. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day, and eat a balanced diet to keep your hunger at bay.
If you do end up standing in line at the doughnut shop, don't beat yourself up! Try again tomorrow, and get your diet back on track as soon as you can.