We all know it happens, it’s 3 o’clock and your starving and naturally your stomach is not settling until it gets fed”healthy snack or not. Snacking on empty calories is literally eating empty foods (cookies, chips, doughnuts) that don’t contain any nutrients or fillers. Reaching for a cookie or something sweet in the late afternoon may seem like a great way to go but it may end up just making you even hungrier or sluggish. Snacking will only be beneficial to you if you’re eating what you like and finding things that satisfy your palette. When your hit with that afternoon wall opt for snacks that will curb your hunger and taste good at the same time”not ones that are just empty calories.
If you like your daily dose of yogurt and granola here is a great solution to the high fat boxed granola”and it’s homemade! Almonds are a great substitute for granola and pack a lot more nutrients such as protein that will keep you full. Crush about 7-8 almonds in a baggy; it’s enough to fill a regular sized yogurt container with crunchy goodness”use a rolling pin to crush them it works best. For an extra bit of flavour add some cinnamon to the crushed nuts”it adds just the right snap to plain vanilla yogurt. Along with tasting great this nut packs a lot of punch. Not only is it known to reduce cardiovascular disease it’s full of protein and Vitamin E. Almonds are high in monosaturated fats (also found in olive oil) one of the two good fats known to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Next time you’re thinking of picking up that granola, think again.
Apples & Peanut butter
Instead of having a bag of chips that comes in way over 100 calories opt for another crunchy option”peanut butter. Full of protein and vitamins B & E along with other great health benefits it’s a wonder it tastes as good as it does. Canada’s Food Guide says that having two tablespoons of peanut butter counts as one serving of your meat or alternatives”you need two a day. Cut up your favourite type of apple and dip it into two tablespoons of peanut butter for a yummy treat. If you’re not a fan of apples switch it up with some celery instead and if you’re not a peanut butter fan there are other types of nut butters available such as almond, cashew, and hazelnut.
Hummus or Bean Dip
Who knew this delectable dish could be a great snacking option and it’s something so easy to make. If you want a homemade hummus minus all the extras throw a can of chickpeas, some olive oil, garlic and tahini (sesame seed paste you can find in any grocery store) into your food processor. Turn it on until the mixture forms a dip like substance and enjoy”it’s really that easy. Beans are packed with protein, full of iron and also fiber, all great things for your body. If you’re not totally sold on hummus you can try other types of beans to play around with the flavours. White beans taste great mixed with garlic or you could try a black bean paste and have it with some baked organic tortillas. Versatility is key so that you enjoy what you’re eating.
You may be reading the title and thinking cheese and yes cheese is a great protein rich snack”that is if you snack on the right type of cheese and keep portions controlled. Remember those days when your mom packed your lunch and threw in those amazing string cheeses; well those happen to be a great snack and fun too! One cheese string is about 60-80 calories and contains around six grams of protein. They are offered in various kinds such as Cheddar, Mozzarella and marble (a mix of both cheeses) and make for a great afternoon delight. If you’d rather not make a string figure while sitting at your desk cut the cheese up and put it on top of slices of Melba Toast, you instantly have a healthier version of cheese and crackers. Another great pairing with this type of cheese is grapes and a cup of grapes is virtually a free food (not many calories) and also delicious.
So I know this may not sound like a great way to snack when you’re starving or at least think you are starving. Researchers have said that sometimes we confuse hunger with thirst and have trouble differentiating between the two”I know this sounds crazy but it’s true! Grab a nice cold class of water or fill up your bottle and cut up some lemon wedges and drop them in. For some added flavour squeeze some of the wedges to have a more lemony taste before you throw them all in. I usually kick it up a notch and add orange slices or even limes and you’d be surprised how satisfying this drink actually is. It’s more beneficial to stick to this option then adding drink crystals that contain artificial sweeteners and sugar”this is all natural. Plain old water is boring so spicing it up with some fruity flavours will always make it taste that much better.