The clock strikes three and you immediately have the urge to raid the office candy machine or the kitchen pantry. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone! The mid-afternoon snack attack is real.
I find that come 3:00 o’clock, I crave something sweet. If I don’t plan ahead and pack a healthy snack like a handful of fresh berries or an apple, I’m off and running to the café down the block for a chocolate fix.
Don’t let afternoon snacking derail your weight loss or make you feel guilty. In fact, a small mid-afternoon snack, if done right, can actually help you lose weight.
The right snack can satisfy you until dinner and help ensure you don’t sit down to dinner ravenous—keeping you from overindulging from sheer hunger.
Having a mid-afternoon snack doesn’t have to jeopardize your well-intentioned weight loss plan. Follow these four simple tips for smart snacking:
1) Keep snacks between 100 and 200 calories. Any less and you likely won’t feel satisfied but any more and you’re probably getting more than you need. Make sure your snack is just that, a snack and not a small meal.
2) Pick the right snacks. Pick snacks that will give you sustained energy rather than make you feel heavy or even more tired. Sadly, our usual choice of snacks is often non-nutritious and high in calories, fat and carbs. These snacks typically fill you up for only a short period and leave us wanting more. Focus on selecting snacks that are high in nutrients or have a balance of carbs, fats and protein. (see some healthy options below)
3) Prepare your snack ahead of time. When the urge hits to run full speed to the vending machine, the best way to ensure smart snacking is to have your snack ready and on hand. Prepare a healthy snack each morning and bring it to the office or have it on hand at home for quick and easy access. Having a prepared snack on hand will help ensure your selection is a healthy one.
4) Be conscious while eating. If you’re taking the time to have a snack, then take the time to enjoy it. If you’re at the office, move away from your desk and focus only on enjoying your snack. If you’re at home, stop what you’re doing and sit down at the kitchen table and enjoy. By being more conscious of your food, you will be more likely to not overeat. When we’re busy doing other things—working on the computer, watching TV, reading a book or magazine, etc. —we don’t even realize how much we’re eating. By being more conscious, you will more likely be more satisfied and eat less.
Still not sure what to reach for when the afternoon snack attack occurs? Try these weight loss friendly snacks:
4 Weight Loss Friendly Afternoon Snacks:
- Apple with Almond Butter
- Veggies & Hummus
- Frozen Banana
- Mango Smoothie (made with almond or soy milk)
Here are just a few of my favorite snacks:
Next time you’re craving a mid afternoon snack, choose a guiltless snack that will give you the energy you need to get through the rest of your day.
Do you have a healthy go-to afternoon snack? Share below what keeps you going when your energy starts to drain.