Do we really need to munch on afternoon snacks? Is it really essential to keep us going through our tasks the whole day? Should one think of having an afternoon snack despite being on a diet? There are three main reasons why all of us should have an afternoon snack. One, it keeps us go through our tasks until dinner. Two, snacks let us keep in pace with our body’s metabolism. Three, it stops us from overindulging in dinner. In other words, it should be loaded with satisfying ingredients as its main goal is to fill in the pangs of hunger from 12noon to 7 pm, which are the usual lunch and dinner hours. Because of this reason, a lot of people easily grab a bag of chips or candy bar or a smoothie or even a cup of coffee as they’re easy to find, prepare, and consume. Sadly, these aren’t the wisest choices for afternoon snacks.
Basically, there are essential tips to keep in mind when looking for an afternoon snack. First of all, a snack that’s filled with junk foods is a no-no. Okay, French fries, burger, and a regular-sized Coke are satisfying, but never healthy. Secondly, an ideal afternoon snack should be loaded with fiber and protein. These can definitely make you full, keep you going even after dinner time, and recharge lost cells in the body. Thirdly, it should be easy to whip. Whether you are workaholic class, a wife preparing for her hungry hubby’s afternoon snack, or a mom preparing for her kids’ after school munch, having short preparation time is a necessary feature.
Here is a list of some of the most common afternoon snacks that are extremely appealing and satisfying, yet never ideal.
- 1. Energy Drinks – The hype on energy drinks is undeniably high. A lot of people tend to have energy drinks when they’re bound to travel, long hours at work, or an upcoming feat that involves physical endurance. Little do they know that drinking energy drinks can cause cardiovascular issues in the long run. These products contain caffeine, taurine, and Vitamin B’s, which are good when kept in moderation, but unhealthy when consumed in high levels. Although it can definitely provide an added energy boost, it can also cause addiction and weight gain.
- 2. Coffee – Starbuck’s long list of cappuccino and fraps is a great treat to a sleepy mind and hungry tummy, but it’s never good when consumed on a daily basis. First of all, fancy coffee, when whipped with cream (read as extra calories), can pile up in your body and converted into fats. Coffee also causes addiction, disrupted circadian rhythm, apprehension, and problematic PMS syndromes. On the lighter note, studies show that regular intake of cup, specifically a cup of coffee a day, can help delay possible occurrence of Alzheimer’s later in life.
- 3. Potato Chips – Whether it’s baked or non-baked, potato chips aren’t loaded with the essential nutrients that let you keep going for several hours. All it boasts is tons of carbohydrates that can turn into fat deposits when not flushed out of the body thru sweat and urine. Yes, its packaging is really appealing and it is really tasty, but it’s never an ideal pick for a late afternoon snack.
- 4. Smoothies – A glass of smoothies is always a refreshing treat to the thirsty soul. It comes in different flavors and it can be paired with almost anything. But did you know that it isn’t the best drink to grab for an afternoon snack? Undeniably, it’s delicious, but it’s full of sugar, too. A smoothie that’s made of pineapple, yogurt, milk, and few tosses of veggies can grab as much as hundreds of calories; thanks to the blender’s sharp blades that very will squeeze the sugars from the yogurt and the fruits. However, you can still have a smoothie without necessarily loading with the sugars. Create one on your own. Doing so, you can manipulate how much sugar and carbs are included in your drinks. However, most offices only allow us 15 minutes break time and grabbing a smoothie at your nearest food shop is probably the way to go. In this case, expect your drink to be loaded with sugars.
- 5. Shakes – They come in tons of delicious and healthy flavors, but they’re only best when home made. If you look closely to how fruit shakes are made in malls and food shops, you’ll notice that they’re actually putting tablespoons of sugar and milk in the drink, which are a no-no when wanting to have an afternoon snack that’s free of sugar.
- 6. Candy Bars – It is probably one of your colleague’s most favorite afternoon delights. After all, who could resist the tempting and delicious taste of candy bars? First of all, they’re full of sugar, which can keep you going for a couple of hours and can definitely raise your blood sugar level. It’s not loaded with proteins and fiber that are two of the major requirements of a wise, afternoon snack.
- 7. Burgers, Hotdogs – These are truly tempting, especially when they’re served with just the perfect dressing. Unfortunately, they’re not the best daily afternoon snacks as they’re full of unnecessary calories and fats that cause weight gain instead of an added boost to your usual boring and hungry afternoon.
- 8. Ready-to-cook noodles – Surely, this is one of the easiest to whip when talking about cooked afternoon snacks, but it is also the quickest route when wanting to have damaged kidneys in the long run.
Easy to Prepare Wise Afternoon Snacks
Now that you’ve realized your favorite candy bar isn’t the best thing to grab for a quick afternoon delight and that your favorite cup of coffee is not the best deal to fight afternoon hunger pangs, here are some easy to prepare snacks that’s loaded with the necessary nutrients to keep you going.
Fruits – Berries, pears, apples, bananas, grapes, peaches, apricots, avocados, grapefruit – name any fruit that you know of and no one will tell you which ones to avoid for an afternoon snack. Fruits are loaded with natural carbohydrates, sugar, fibers, and protein that your body needs to get moving. They don’t terrorize your pancreas and your kidneys, and they’re never as expensive as a fancy coffee from Starbucks, which is only packed with fats, calories, and complex sugars. Most fruits, especially bananas, are available all throughout the season, so you are guaranteed to have fresh supply of bananas all year. Of all the fruits in the market, those coming from the berries are the most chosen ones because they contain lots of antioxidants and vitamins that don’t only make you feel full, but also help keep your skin glowing and clear. On the one hand, cherries, apricots, and peaches are great sources of fiber. They help cleanse your digestive system and improve bowel movement. Need a quick afternoon snack that’s a powerhouse of immune boosters? Grab your favorite grape kind today. Grapes are a good source of energy and compounds that boost the immune system. Conversely, apples only have low dose of fiber and protein, yet they’re still very fulfilling sans the sugar. A cup or more of any of your favorite foods everyday is required to reach the required dose of fibers, protein, and carbohydrates in your diet. If you find one type of fruit boring, have a fruit salad then. A few slices of bananas, strawberries, and peaches mixed with a few squeeze of low-fat salad dressing can go a long way.
Fruits and Nuts – Who says fruits and nuts aren’t a great combination? Nuts are packed with protein, calcium, and fiber while fruits are packed with natural sugars, Vitamin C, and fiber. What more can you ask for? The mix can include raw almonds, raw cashews, banana chips, golden raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, and Kosher salt. To prepare, spread a pinch of salt on the nuts and spread them on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and continuously stir it until golden brown then combine it with dried fruits.
Healthy juices – You don’t necessarily need to munch on something solid just to satisfy your afternoon hunger pangs. Juicing all-natural ingredients like fruits and veggies is one of the best tips to grab a quick powerhouse of energy boosters and antioxidants. When making juices, always have this ratio 1:2, that means 1 part fruit and 2 parts vegetable. Fruits contain natural sugars that may increase the body’s sugar levels when not balanced with vegetables. A juice that’s made of fruits and vegetables is a perfect drink from nature as well.
Tea – Switch your coffee to tea. Green tea has tons of fiber, protein, and stress relievers. Although it contains traces of caffeine, its caffeine levels are way lower than that of coffee drinks. Nevertheless, it is still not advisable to drink tea when you are sensitive to such compound.
Hard Boiled Eggs – Eggs can add trans fats to the body when fried, but can be a friend when boiled. A hard-boiled egg contains antioxidants that help keep your eyesight in a healthy state. It also has proteins that are necessary for the repair and build up of muscle tissues. Furthermore, hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare and cheap.
Sandwich – Sandwiches are like burgers in terms of its taste, but totally different in terms of its nutrients, especially when prepared at home. A sandwich filled with tuna, tomatoes, crispy cabbage, pineapple slices, and a slice of cheese definitely makes a healthy afternoon snack sans the heavy price and long preparations.
How to Avoid Snacking in the Afternoon
Do you want to skip snacking in the afternoon to save money and time, but cannot do so? Here are some tried and tested tips that can help you stop afternoon snacking. Firstly, start your day with heavy breakfast that’s full of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Make sure to have a bottle of water nearby, and make it your best friend all throughout the day. Water also makes you feel full longer.