Don’t Get “Hangry”, Fill Your Belly And Fuel Your Brain With The Ultimate 3PM Slump Solution
– Dietitian’s Favourite Snacks from a Latte to Better-for-you Energy Bars –
It’s 3pm, you’re at your desk and hours from dinner, what will you snack on so you don’t get “hangry” or overeat later in the day? In celebration of Nutrition Month’s 9am -5pm theme (this March) nutrition experts provide their take on the biggest afternoon snacking mistakes and tasty solutions.
By 3pm, it’s time to satisfy a craving or hunger pain, but many fail to satisfy those feelings that will also provide brainpower, productivity and sustained energy required to get through the rest of the workday and home for dinner.
“When you begin to get “hangry,” a piece of fruit or high fibre cookie won’t cut it,” says Registered Dietitian Abbey Sharp. “To nourish both your body and brain, the secret is to plan ahead by keeping convenient snacks on hand that combine the hunger crushing combination of protein and slow burning carbs but that still tastes delicious enough to satisfy your sweet or salty cravings.”
3 Common Afternoon Snack Mistakes and Expert’s Solutions
#1 Skipping or Delaying: Starving your brain and your body causes low energy, reduced productivity and may trigger overeating later in the day.
Solution: Plan ahead so a snack is not missed or leaving you grabbing something with little or no nutritional value.
#2 Only Having Protein: Many people fear carbs, but by eliminating them, your blood sugar will plummet and make you feel tired and unfocused.
Solution: Don’t fear carbs, embrace healthy ones to manage blood sugar and satisfy your brain.
#3 Eating Carbs Alone: Most favourite convenient snacks are carbs alone that don’t provide the sustained fullness we get from protein.
Solution: Pair your carb (grain, starch, fruit or veggie) with a protein that provides sustained energy and keeps you fuller longer. The protein helps to slow the release of sugar (from carb) into the blood stream, which prevents a big insulin spike that causes energy crash and craving for another snack.
Many snacks including potato chips, granola bars and high-carb energy bars are rapidly digested (high glycemic) and provide a temporary lift of energy that fades and leaves you hungry again soon.
“Choosing snacks that are low on the Glycemic Index (Low GI) means that their carbohydrates can be released slowly into the bloodstream as energy to provide long lasting energy and satiety without the 3 PM crash,” adds Abbey Sharp.
Abbey Sharp suggests 5 convenient, nutritionally balanced snacks that combine ‘healthy’ carbs (slow releasing) with a source of protein:
- Low Glycemic Energy Bars such as SoLo Gi – Provides a mix of protein with slow releasing carbs and fibre as well as exceptional bar flavours from apple cinnamon and yogurt to chocolate and nuts. (soloenergybar.ca)
- A Latte – For coffee lovers, did you know that a small regular or decaf latte (or tea latte) supplies more protein than an egg? The milk naturally supplies a good source of protein and carbs. (No added sugar!)
- A Handful of Nuts and Fruit – All nuts and seeds are good choices that supply protein along with your favourite fresh or dried unsweetened fruit (which are healthy carbs).
- Greek Yogurt Parfait – Yogurt parfaits made with fresh or frozen thawed berries and topped with a spoon of hemp hearts, chia seeds or ground flax seeds provide an ideal blend of needed protein and carbs.
- Hummus with Raw Veggies and Whole Grain Crackers – The perfect snack when you are looking for something crunchy and savory that will supply both carbs and protein.
Abbey adds, “If we are going to beat the 3pm slump we need to think about convenient snacks that help manage our blood sugar. We need to move away from rapidly digested refined carbs to slow releasing ones and mixing them with protein to achieve long lasting energy and fullness.”
Abbey Sharp, RD (www.abbeyskitchen.com)
Registered Dietitian (RD) Abbey Sharp is a national food writer and blogger, TV and radio food and nutrition expert, spokesperson, recipe developer, YouTube host and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc. Her unique healthy eating philosophy is built on an understanding that a pleasurable relationship with food is essential to good health. Abbey makes regular appearances and contributions to The Marilyn Denis Show, Best Health Magazine, On the Go Magazine and numerous other food and nutrition outlets.