Easy and Healthy Afternoon Snacks
We’ve all experienced the dreaded afternoon slump – it’s two or three hours after lunch, you still have plenty of work to do or errands to run, but suddenly you find yourself slouching over your desk, yawning, and longing for a siesta. What do you do? You reach for sugary treats and caffeinated beverages to get you through the energy vacuum, of course. Only, that leaves you feeling even worse off an hour later, and often leads to disrupted sleep and unwanted weight gain.
There could be a number of reasons for this nosedive, including poor sleep, high stress levels, dehydration, a blood sugar spike from lunch, and even just the natural hormonal rhythms we go through on a daily basis! The solution? There are a few things you can do to beat the afternoon slump, and enjoying a healthy snack is one of them! Whether you need to overcome a bout of fatigue, or are just looking for something yummy to snack on while playing online bingo, we’re exploring some healthy, easy-to-prepare afternoon snacks to boost your energy, increase your focus, and make you feel good!
Snack bars are packed with protein and healthy fats – both of which are essential macronutrients and highly satiating! There is a wide range of snack bars available at the supermarket (some healthier than others), so be sure to read the ingredients to choose the best ones. Alternatively, you could make your own, filling them with oats, nuts, seeds, superfoods like cacao and protein powder, and dried fruits. Homemade snack bars can be stored for up to a week in the fridge, or for up to two months in the freezer – ideal for making large batches and an easy go-to snack!
If you’re a chocolate lover, chances are that’s what you reach for when you’re feeling lethargic. Perhaps surprisingly, raw chocolate is actually very healthy and boasts a wealth of benefits; however, the sugar and high fat content in most chocolate bars certainly isn’t. For a truly healthy dose of chocolate – which is a natural energy booster filled with antioxidants and proven to release feel-good hormones – try this chocolate milk recipe using raw cacao and honey. You don’t have to use cow’s milk if you prefer an alternative.
- 1 cup milk of choice (plant-based versions include soya milk, almond milk, and oat milk)
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp honey (ideally local)
- 2 tbsp unflavoured protein powder (optional)
- Dash vanilla essence
Simply add all the ingredients to your blender, pulse until smooth, and enjoy!
Mmm… muffins! You might be surprised to find muffins on our list of healthy snacks, but “healthy” definitely doesn’t have to mean bland or boring, and recipes can always be adapted to suit your needs and preferences. Really, muffins are an ideal desk snack – they’re satiating, tasty, and quick and easy to eat without much mess.
Making muffins at home gives you a chance to choose the healthiest ingredients and decide exactly what’s going into them – replace refined sugar with stevia, honey, or coconut sugar; use gluten-free flour if gluten makes you bloat; add plenty of fruit and vegetables to the mix for extra fibre and nutrients (think banana bran and carrot cake muffins!) and so on. The best thing is you can keep tweaking your recipes until they come out spot on every time – then you can share them with your friends!
One of the best ways to beat the afternoon dip is to stay well-hydrated, and smoothies are a delicious way to do that. Smoothies are a highly versatile and convenient snack for any time of the day. They’re packed with nutrients, and are easy to digest and refreshing. You can also add a range of superfoods to your smoothies such as greens, berries, antioxidant-rich cacao, hormone-balancing maca, and energising ginseng, making them the perfect afternoon snack to keep you focused, productive, and feeling good throughout the day.
Smoothies can be pre-prepared and stored in the fridge (just give them a good shake before you consume them), or made on the spot, since they only take a few minutes to concoct!
Did someone say pudding? Yes, we did! Chia seeds are prized for being packed with nutrients and providing sustainable energy. They’re high in healthy fats, fibre, and magnesium, while being relatively low in calories.
Chia pudding involves soaking 4 tablespoons of chia seeds in 1 cup of milk (again, your choice of what type), leaving them for an hour to absorb the milk and expand into a pudding-like consistency, then adding maple syrup or honey and some fresh fruit, like blueberries or mango. (You can even sprinkle some toasted coconut on top as a garnish.) These pudding bowls are small snacks that are super-filling. They’re easy to make, wonderful to eat, and sure to keep you powering through just when you think you’re going to drop!
On the savoury side
Salad in a jar
Salad in a jar is a time-saving and super healthy afternoon snack! You can make a few salads on a Sunday night, store them in the fridge, and have a light, easy-to-digest, tasty snack to munch on while playing online slots or doing your afternoon admin. All you’ll need is a suitable sized jar that has a lid.
Layer up your jar with leafy greens and fresh vegetables such as chopped cucumber and tomatoes, a cooked and cooled grain (quinoa/brown rice/couscous/noodles/penne pasta), a protein (chicken/tuna/chickpeas/tofu), and add some herbs and your dressing of choice. And there you have it! The fun part is digging down through the layers. And it’s super-healthy, too.
Hummus + sides
There are two types of people in this world – people who love hummus, and people who haven’t yet realised that they love hummus!
Hummus is an ideal afternoon snack – it can be bought or pre-made, is protein-rich and packed with nutrients, and is as simple to eat as dipping a few veggie sticks (carrots, cucumber and celery work well), crackers, or falafel into its plant-based creamy goodness! If you make your own, don’t skimp on the garlic, lemon juice or olive oil (or it can taste a bit bland); meanwhile, you can add less salt if you also use a touch of spice – for example, some roasted, ground cumin seeds.
If you like to play slots online, popcorn could be the ideal snack for you. It’s easy to make and high in fibre, as well as containing several important vitamins, minerals and polyphenol antioxidants. With only 31 calories per cup, this delicious snack can be enjoyed without guilt – just be sure that it’s air-popped and not slathered in butter or caramel!
Nuts and dried fruit
Combine an assortment of your favourite nuts with some raisins, dried fruit pieces and coconut flakes, and you have a tasty trail mix ready to pick you up any afternoon. These ingredients are protein-rich, crunchy, and satisfying. They also don’t require any preparation, ideal for the days you run out of the house in a hurry.
Other tips to beat the afternoon slump
- Stay hydrated. (We’re saying this again because it’s the easiest one to forget about.)
- Go for a brisk walk or engage in another form of light exercise.
- Take a break and do something you enjoy to refresh your mind.
- Rub some peppermint essential oil on your wrists and at the back of your neck to tap into its rejuvenating properties.
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