Do you get a daily case of the 3 p.m. slumps? The afternoon drive to drowse can be caused by dehydration, low blood sugar, or a low-protein lunch.
But before you reach into your coworker’s candy bowl to spike your energy, beware: high-sugar snacks are loaded with unnecessary calories and can lead to even more fatigue. Instead, fill your water bottle and beat the slump—and the vending machine—with these healthy snack ideas.
1. Protein Power
To pack the biggest snack-time punch, reach for protein. A 2012 study from the University of Missouri said women who ate a snack with twenty-four grams or more of protein felt fuller longer than women who ate low-protein snacks. To fill up on protein, pack along some salted soybeans, turkey jerky, or cottage cheese topped with fruit.
2. Portion Control
Nuts, especially almonds, are filled with protein and heart-friendly fats. However, a little nuttiness can go a long way: almonds are high in both cost and calories, so buy them in bulk to save money, and measure out small servings ahead of time to bring to work. Pair them with your cheese of choice for some calcium and extra protein.
3. Double Dip
Veggies are low in fat and calories yet high in fiber, folic acid, vitamins A and C, and more. Not a fan of the green stuff? Make veggies more palatable with hummus, a protein-packed, tasty topping that can make even carrot sticks sing. Try roasted red pepper hummus with sugar snap peas or fresh green beans for a satisfying crunch.
4. Cozy Comfort
Oatmeal: it’s not just for breakfast. A whole grain shown to reduce unhealthy cholesterol and boost immunity, oatmeal can make a belly-warming snack no matter the season. Bring in a stash of instant packets or plain rolled oats. Mix with hot water, a scoop of nut butter, and a dash of cinnamon. Short on prep time? Give overnight oats a try.
5. Snack in Season
Fruit is great for hydration, nutrition-packed carbs, and fiber. For more satisfying flavors, forgo the Red Delicious and pick something in season: apricots and strawberries in spring, cherries and melons in summer, pears in fall, and citrus in winter. Pair your selection with half a cup of plain Greek yogurt sweetened with a swirl of honey.
6. Whole Hype
A Harvard study published by the American Heart Association in 2016 says eating three servings of whole grains daily can help you live longer—and popcorn qualifies. To avoid office olfactory offense and needless calories, pop plain kernels and skip the butter; instead, try salt with Parmesan, cinnamon with honey, or sriracha with garlic salt.
7. Indulge (a little)
Can’t ignore your sweet tooth? Treat yourself occasionally, but keep portions small. For a sweet snack that won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar, reach for antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Try a variety with a cacao content of 70 percent or higher, and nibble alongside a more filling snack such as whole-wheat crackers and peanut butter.
Article written by Sara Smith Atwood