Something about Fall always goes hand-in-hand with getting back into a routine. Days get shorter and, with less time outside, maybe our work days get just a little longer. As we get back into the swing of things, one of the most common questions I’m asked is about snacking on a long work day.
Here, I’ll explain why to snack, how to snack right and what to snack on. Consider it your ultimate smart snacking guide. Something about Fall always goes hand-in-hand with getting back into a routine. Days get shorter and, with less time outside, maybe our work days get just a little longer. As we get back into the swing of things, one of the most common questions I’m asked is about snacking on a long work day. Here, I’ll explain why to snack, how to snack right and what to snack on. Consider it your ultimate smart snacking guide.
Why I Say You Should Snack Ideally, I recommend to try eat something every three to four hours to keep our hunger at bay and energy levels up. If we eat lunch around noon and aren’t eating dinner until 7pm, it makes sense to snack in between. In this scenario, without an afternoon snack between lunch and dinner, we would go an entire seven hours (!) without eating (I’m a nutritionist – this seems dramatic to me!). In this case, it’s likely that by the time dinner comes, we could be overly hungry, which makes it much harder to eat slowly and mindfully. Instead, I suggest a snack between lunch and dinner; and between breakfast and lunch too, if they’re spaced apart! Snacks can help satisfy hunger between meals and can also help keep our energy level up. Inevitably, most of us will fall victim to the 3pm work day slump – I find that having a snack around this time is an easy way to get your momentum going again to get through the rest of your work day.
How to Snack Of course, some snacks will help you feel fuller than others. My advice is to look for a winning combination that contains both protein and fiber. These two nutrients combined are likely filling enough to help hold you over until your next meal, and may help balance your blood sugar well-enough to keep your energy levels from spiking or crashing. Think about it: having a hard-boiled egg with a piece of fruit gives your snack more staying power.
What to Snack On In addition to snacking on protein and fiber, I’m a firm believer that snacks should be simple. I like to recommend snacks to my clients that they can either: A) quickly throw together in the morning to bring from home, or B) they can easily find in a store near their office. Let’s be real, a snack that takes too much prep work is something none of us want to deal with at 3pm on a busy work day.
Here are some of my favorite snack combinations and why: -Hummus with veggie sticks and whole grain crackers: The hummus, veggies and whole grain crackers provide both protein and fiber. Plus, this snack has a ton of volume – meaning you have a lot of food to chew to help fill you up. -Popcorn with string cheese: Popcorn, a whole grain, provides a nice dose of fiber, and the string cheese is a great way to add protein. My favorite thing about this snack is that it’s easily portable; buy individual serving size bags of popcorn, and grab one with a stick of string cheese – it couldn’t be easier.
-Greek yogurt with berries: Greek yogurt is one of my favorite sources of protein. Not only does Greek yogurt taste amazing with berries, but also berries add fiber. This snack is easy to grab from home on your way out the door, or easily pick-up from many different stores when you’re out. Try any flavor of Dannon Light & Fit Original Greek Yogurt and mix with fresh berries. Light & Fit Original Greek Nonfat Yogurt contains 80 calories and 12 grams of protein per 5.3 oz. Light & Fit offers a delicious variety of products to fit any eating occasion! For my snack, I love pairing the vanilla flavor with blueberries and raspberries for a perfectly, sweet-tasting snack. As a bonus, eating one yogurt every day is an important first step toward creating a more balanced diet and a healthier lifestyle. Yogurt can be part of a healthy eating pattern as a smart snack, convenient part of breakfast, delicious cooking ingredient, or a great choice for dessert. -Apple with peanut or almond butter: Here, the apple and peanut or almond butter provide fiber; the protein and unsaturated fats in the peanut or almond butter help you feel full. To make this snack as easy as possible, look for individual packets of nut butter to grab on-the-go. -Whole grain crackers with avocado and a hard boiled-egg: If you have the time to get just a little fancier with your snack, definitely try this combination. With crackers and avocado for fiber and a hard-boiled egg for protein, the combination delivers flavor and good fats. It’s like having a trendy avocado toast at your desk. Almost.
-Health Coach K