3pm hits and I don't know what comes over me. It might be hunger. It might be boredom. It might still be a leftover habit from the "after school snack" that my Mom always served when we walked in the door. I feel completely ravenous and start craving all sorts of unhealthy foods. In the past, I had been known to finish an entire sleeve of cookies during this time or pour myself cereal bowl after cereal bowl, not even thinking about how much food I was consuming.
Instead of continuing that behavior, I decided to curb my cravings by planning a HEALTHY snack for 2pm. Even though I am not truly hungry at that point, it stops the 3pm madness from happening. To keep energy levels going and avoid weight gain, I steer clear of foods with lots of simple carbohydrates like candy bars or soda. Instead, I seek out foods that contain complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and cereals and combine them with protein-rich snacks such as peanut butter, cheese, or low fat yogurt.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Ants on a log: Smear a small amount of peanut butter on celery and top with raisins
- Maria's delicious trail mix: Mix 1/2 a serving (29 grams) of Grape Nuts cereal, 10g of raisins, 10g of peanuts
- Yummy fruit tray: Slice 1/2 an apple and 1/2 a banana. Put 2 tbsp of peanut butter on the side for dipping.
- Whole grain pita with hummus: Warm a pita in the oven on low, then cut it into small triangles. Dip it in a tasty, low-fat hummus. Hummus is available in yummy flavors like garlic and spicy red pepper. Hummus also makes a tasty dip for cut-up veggies.
- Mexi-snack: 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Chili con Queso, 18 baked tortilla chips
- Turkey rollups: 1 serving of turkey wrapped around sesame breadsticks
- Quick kebabs: Take a skewer and put 1/2 oz of cubed turkey, 1/2 oz of cubed cheddar cheese, and a few grapes on it.
No matter what I have for a snack, I always pair it with a glass of water. And as with everything, moderation is the key. If you eat regular meals and healthy snacks, you will be less likely to overeat and gain weight than if you skip meals or go for long periods without eating and then scarf down a large order of fries.
I love sharing my life with all of you and I'd love to get some feedback. Please comment and share some of your favorite snacks. I am always looking for ideas and I am sure my readers are, as well. Thanks!