The road to hell was paved with good intentions.
You start the morning off with a great breakfast followed by a protein-packed kale, quinoa and other-Beyonce-celebrated-food-item salad for lunch. You’re unstoppable, you health god/goddess, you.
But once 3 p.m. looms around, there is this annoying and largely mental need to satisfy this neither-here-nor-there hunger. This is where you find yourself in defeat. To quiet the angry growling in your stomach, you mindlessly trudge over to Butte Station and grab a Snickers bar in shame.
Maybe the late night Serrano’s runs are starting to show or you’re just trying to make some healthier choices (when possible,) but here are some healthy snack options to help pick you up from those mid-day slumps.
A study championed by Penn State University suggests that high density foods leave you more satisfied than those that don’t fill you up as much. This natural whole grain snack can help keep the mindless munching at bay as great alternative to chips. Steer clear from the movie theatre butter by flavouring it on your own. Add a sprinkling of salt, lashings of Sriracha for those who crave spice or mix-in some dark chocolate chips when you need something sweet.
Fruit and Nut Butter Dip
Most of us are familiar with the classic snack combo. But with one tablespoon of peanut butter being equivalent to about 95 calories, the healthy fats from the nuts can still pack on the calories. (And who really stops at just one tablespoon?) Balance it out by stirring in some Greek yogurt to the peanut butter, adding some honey or stevia to taste and adding a dash of cinnamon if you’re feeling fancy.
Instead of reliving the Snicker bar situation which contains hidden fats and sugars, make a smarter choice and reach for the dark chocolate instead. There’s a reason why women flock to chocolate during that time of the month. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and stimulate the production of endorphins to boost your mood. Avoid restricting things that you enjoy as this, and in time, will only end up in unhealthy binging. Everything—yes, even chocolate—can be enjoyed in moderation.
Ah, the college student staple. I like to have a couple of options at hand to grab when I’m running out the door. The key to picking a great bar is to pick ones with minimalistic ingredients. If you can’t pronounce them, you problem don’t want them in your food. These ones from Nature’s Bakery are great alternatives to Fig Newtons and are completely nut and dairy free. Even at 220 calories a pack, getting calories from a natural source is always best.
Carrots and Hummus
Hummus is traditionally made with chickpeas and tahini (sesame oil). Legumes are filled with fibre which will keep you full longer while the monosaturated fats in tahini are fats that are actually good for you. These individual hummus cups will help you stick to your portions. Carrots pack a nutrient punch (and crunch,) which will help hold you over until dinner time.
This is a great pre-workout when you want a snack right before you hit the gym. Ditch the expensive store bought varieties—those often contain add-ins like dried fruit that are ladened in sugar—by making your own. Start with a nut: Heart-healthy almonds are a great choice. Then followed by the mix-ins; dates have an almost caramel-y sweetness to them and are full of glucose to give you that burst of energy without the sugar crash.
By Daena Marissa Iqbal Hakim, Account Executive