The long stretch between lunch and dinner can seem endless, so it’s completely normal to get hunger pangs come 3pm or 4pm. That mid-afternoon stomach growl is a natural biochemical occurrence, not a character flaw. That said, what you reach for when you choose to refuel can either set you up for a productive afternoon or send you on a downward sugar-coma spiral.
Resist the siren call of the vending machine or a sugary coffee drink, and nosh on one of these healthy snacks instead. Remember: It doesn’t have to come in a package to count as a snack! These real-food options — one for every type of craving — will keep you going no matter what’s on the agenda. No fridge at work to store them in? No problem! Bring an insulated lunch bag and an ice pack.
If you’re craving a creamy snack, try:
- 6-ounces of plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of ground flax and cinnamon
- ½ an avocado with a dash of sea salt
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
If you’re craving a crunchy snack, try:
- Sliced veggies with hummus for dipping
- DIY microwave popcorn: Place 3 tablespoons of corn kernels in a brown paper bag. Fold the bag over twice and microwave in 1-minute intervals until corn is popped. Add whatever spices you like and shake well.
- 2 ounces of sliced turkey, rolled up around cucumber sticks
If you’re craving a sweet snack, try:
- Homemade trail mix: Combine two tablespoons of nuts, seeds, or dry-roasted edamame with 1 tablespoon of dried fruit, and 1 teaspoon of dark chocolate chips
- An apple, banana, or pear with a tablespoon of nut butter
- A slice of whole-grain toast (or a serving of whole grain crackers) spread with part-skim ricotta, cinnamon, and a drizzle (about 1/2 teaspoon) of honey.
If you’re craving a salty snack, try:
- DIY fruit and cheese plate: Pair a cheddar cheese stick or other single-serve cheese with ½ cup grapes or half an apple and a half-serving of whole-grain crackers
- ½ cup of cooked edamame
- Half of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread