4 Snacks For An Afternoon Slump That'll Wake You Right Up, According To Experts
Every day at about 3 p.m., I turn into a bit of a snack monster. I suddenly develop a desperate need for something, anything to munch on, no matter how filling my lunch was. If I haven't planned ahead with plenty of healthy snack options, I usually reach for something sugary, which causes me to crash soon afterward. If you know the struggle of a midday snack attack, too, the best thing you can do is arm yourself (and your kitchen) with snacks for an afternoon slump whenever that relentless hunger strikes.
Whether you're making your own tasty snack recipes for the upcoming week or shopping for healthy options in the grocery store, Lyuda Bouzinova, an ACE-certified fitness nutrition specialist, personal trainer, and co-founder of Mission Lean, recommends sticking to a simple guideline to make sure you're as energized as possible. In short: Choose foods with recognizable, whole-food ingredients. "What you want to stay away from is anything unnatural, processed, and that comes in packaging with messages that promise to give you extra energy," Bouzinova tells Elite Daily over email. "Those drinks and snacks are often loaded with caffeine, sugar, and other far worse unnatural ingredients that may harm your health in the long run, and make you crash terribly in the short run."
So if you need a little help figuring out what to reach for come 3 p.m., here are the foods that'll replenish your energy, rather than steal it.
A Big Bowl Of Oatmeal
You may think of this creamy grain dish as only a healthy breakfast option, but a bowl of oatmeal can also be a great midday snack, according to Bouzinova. "These healthy (and naturally gluten-free) grains, in combination with the other ingredients, will definitely keep you full for a while and give you enough energy for a late-afternoon or evening workout," she tells Elite Daily. Bouzinova also recommends mixing in a healthy topping, such as dark chocolate, a small handful of nuts, or dried fruit for both flavor, and an even bigger boost of energy.
On a similar note, registered dietitian Kelly Springer, MS, CDN suggests drizzling Manuka honey on top of your oatmeal for a quick, natural, sugary boost. Springer recommends keeping on-the-go packs of Manuka honey with you at all times to enjoy whenever, wherever, and to help you stay full and focused.
Turmeric Carrot Cake Energy Bites
If you're truly swamped for time, a make-ahead treat might work best for your schedule. This turmeric carrot cake energy bites recipe from the blog Making Thyme for Health is rich in creamy cashew butter, sweet shredded carrot, and warming spices, making it the perfect grab-and-go snack to pack in your bag for an instant pick-me-up. Not only do these bites sound delicious, but Erin Stokes, medical director and naturopathic doctor at MegaFood, tells Elite Daily that the addition of turmeric in this recipe can really help to replenish and rejuvenate your energy levels when you're feeling groggy in the afternoon.
If you like a crunchy, savory afternoon snack, Keri Gans, a registered dietitian/nutritionist and author of the book The Small Change Diet, recommends munching on salted edamame. "It's very high in fiber and very high in protein," Gans told Women's Health back in 2014, which translates to a quick and efficient boost of your energy for you and your body.
Plus, this tasty treat is especially great for anyone following a vegan diet, as it is one of the few plant-based, whole-protein sources of all the essential amino acids your body needs. With 22 grams of protein per cup, you'll be sure to feel satisfied after snacking on these creamy beans.
An Energy Bar That Actually Works (And Tastes Good)
Bouzinova suggests snacking on a handful of nuts for healthy protein and dried fruit for sweetness and crunch. "Make sure the dried fruit doesn’t have any added sugar," she says, as "it’s sweet enough already" on its own. For a portable mix of both nuts and sugar, I've personally been loving these nutrient-dense bars from LÄRABAR. Not only does this tasty bar not contain any added sugars, but it also sneaks in an entire quarter-cup of greens, which I promise you can't even taste. If you're truly pressed for time during a busy day at work or school, these babies will be sure to hit the spot.