If we eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch, those meals should be able to sustain us until dinnertime.
But sometimes our eating habits during the day are less perfect than we'd like, or dinner is later than we’d prefer it to be.
Late afternoon hits and we feel like we need a little boost to get us through until that next meal. It’s possible that blood sugar levels are low and maybe our energy is dropping.
Don’t reach for that candy bar or processed snack in a box!
You may feel a little surge in your energy level due to the sugars or caffeine, but that energy will not last. In fact, it will only spike your blood sugar and you’ll actually feel worse than you did before the snack.
Here are some alternative, healthy snacks that will tide you over and keep you feeling alive again:
1. Kale chips
This is one of my favorite snacks! Purchase kale chips at your local health food store or make them yourself in a dehydrator. They're a great superfood, rich in Vitamin A and can be prepared with delicious nuts and spices, such as cashews, sesame seeds, paprika, chipoltle peppers, red bell pepper and sea salt to add more zest!
2. Green smoothie
This is the perfect way to eat your veggies (or get your kids to drink them). I like to use a leafy green such as spinach or kale, a fruit (this summer I was into adding pineapple and coconut, but this winter I'm adding frozen organic berries), a green superfood powder or goji berry, chia seeds, flax seed oil and coconut water.
Fresh greens are packed with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. They are also high in vitamins A, C, E, and K. Greens are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and other micronutrients and healthy phytochemicals. You’ll love drinking them and the way you feel after!
3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great option to reach for when you’re stomach is calling out to you. They're easy, healthy and filling. You only need to at a handful or so to tide you over until dinner. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Buy them raw in your local health food store, which I recommend so you get more nutrients. You can also make your own yummy trail mix combining almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. Nuts and seeds help lower LDL and increase HDL, which makes them a heart-healthy snack and they are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.
4. Protein shake
There are so many companies out there, it’s hard to choose which one to buy. I use a brand that is low glycemic, has a high quality protein and has all natural sweeteners. When I make my own, I use a raw rice or pea protein, hemp milk, raw cacao and berries. Hemp milk can be rich is Vitamin B12, D, calcium and Omega 3 & 6. Berries are rich in antioxidants and low on the glycemic index. Whether you choose the easy way or already prepared way, they are both healthy and filling.
5. Raw veggies with hummus
Raw veggies are such a perfect snack because they travel well. You can bring them to work and they’ll stay fresh all day. Just slice a few carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, jicama, or any other veggie and add some hummus or another favorite dip for flavor. Hummus is made of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and tahini.
The chickpeas in hummus are a good source of fiber, which promotes heart health. Hummus also contains many other vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, zinc and magnesium. Another favorite dip I like is a cilantro, jalapeno, walnut, garlic and olive oil mix. Yum!
Now that you’ve got some new, delicious snack ideas, you may feel more energized and alert during that normal mid-afternoon lull. Try them and let me know what you think!