I am a snacker, always looking for grazing opportunities throughout the day. In fact, I would prefer to eat smaller meals just so that I can save my appetite and my calorie count for snacks. My favorite time to snack is mid-afternoon. I don’t know if it’s because my body can feel us approaching the end of the workday, or if I have a psychological need to eat something at 3 p.m. every day. Are you like me? If so, here are five great snacks for the middle of the day, that are healthy and filling.
1. Popcorn. I always keep a few bags of microwaveable popcorn in my desk drawer. Look for the 100-calorie snack packs or the 94 percent fat free varieties. You can even get healthy Kettle Korn. Popcorn is full of whole grains and fiber. It will keep you satisfied between meals, and the crunch will make your mouth happy.
2. Fruit. Imagine a big bowl of watermelon chunks and blueberries. Mmm. I also like to have apple slices spread with peanut butter. Fruit has a high water content, which will keep you full. Plus, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals with every serving. Never trust a diet that prohibits fruit.
3. Cheese. Having a young child means I can buy mozzarella cheese sticks without feeling silly. If you feel like you’re too old for a cheese stick, chop up some cheddar, pepper jack, provolone, whatever you like. Just a few ounces will make a good snack and provide you with a dairy serving for the day.
4. Nuts. Keep little baggies or bowls of nuts nearby for an emergency snack in the middle of the day that will keep your blood sugar from crashing and help you avoid the vending machine. Just a handful of almonds does the trick for me. Other healthy nuts include walnuts, peanuts, pistachios and cashews. Toss some raisins or dried cranberries in for a little extra sweetness.
5. Frozen treats. No, you should not whip out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the middle of the day. Try an Italian ice, or a low calorie fudge pop. You will find it remarkably refreshing, and something to look forward to if your afternoon starts to wear you down.