We’ve all been there: It’s 3:00 p.m. and you skipped breakfast, didn’t leave your desk for lunch and those pesky afternoon snack cravings are looming. Your body is tired and you’re looking for anything to wake you up! You look for something convenient, like calorie-packed coffee drinks, chips, candy, soda or an energy drink to help you get by. It’s no wonder these snack foods make up nearly 25% of our daily calories! But these foods aren’t cutting it; they are high in added sugars, and/or saturated fats while being low in protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are full of empty calories that don’t provide long-lasting energy to keep you satisfied until your evening meal.
Snacks Can Be A Good Thing
Research from the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that eating a high-protein afternoon snack helps teens avoid overeating at dinner and eating an excess of high fat foods. Their cognition levels also showed improvement. These teens were given specifically soy protein, but any lean, clean proteins will do the trick. Adults, too, can reap benefits from eating a healthy protein to satiate cravings, rather than reaching for sugary snacks only to experience a dip in energy shortly after that short sugar spike.
Choose The Right Snacks
Your best bets to temper afternoon cravings are nutrient-rich snacks that won’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall quickly, triggering hunger. Choose fresh fruit; veggies with hummus; turkey or chicken deli slices with fresh fruit; jerky; Greek yogurt with fresh fruit; a trail mix or handful of mixed nuts or natural date bars. You’ll find that there are a multitude of delicious snacks that will keep you satiated and give you a needed energy boost. If you constantly reach for caffeine, try reaching for B12 vitamins instead. B12 naturally helps the body regulate metabolism and is responsible for converting our food into energy!
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Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/4/677.full
Variation in the effects of three different breakfast meals on subjective satiety and subsequent intake of energy at lunch and evening meal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22948783