You packed a healthy lunch full of protein and vegetables – but around 3 p.m., you start craving a snack. For many busy professionals, there is a Starbucks or a vending machine right around the corner. The temptation to enjoy a brown sugar toaster pastry with a cup of coffee is strong – however, a carb-heavy snack like that will likely leave you feeling sluggish and foggy-minded, making it even harder to clear out your email inbox before 5 p.m. Healthy snacks can help you stay focused until the end of the workday as well as help you reach your weight-loss goals. Save your waistline and your wallet with homemade healthy snacks. Check out the list below for snack ideas:
If you have a sweet tooth, try dried fruit
Some individuals find themselves craving a candy bar or something equally sweet when the afternoon hits. Instead of reaching for a piece of chocolate, adopt a new habit and introduce dried fruit as a healthy snack. Ideally, look for packaged fruit that has no added sugar or sulfites. In addition, because the sugar is concentrated in dried fruit, it’s wise to eat less than you would of fully-hydrated fruit. Can’t find your favorite fruit in dried form? You can make your own! PopSugar’s Jenny Sugar breaks down how to make dried mango, which is a much more cost-effective way of satisfying your sweet tooth.
Make your own dried fruit for an afternoon snack.
If you love energy bars, make your own
Store-bought energy bars are ideal when you’re on the go: They’re easy to eat en-route to a workout class or on your way home and they offer a hefty dose of protein. However, these bars – with flavors like that sound like cookies – are often glorified candy bars with several teaspoons of sugar. You can make your own energy bars with almond butter or peanut butter to get your protein fix with this 5-ingredient recipe from food blogger Chocolate Covered Katie. You can control how sweet the final product is by adding honey or agave. Should you need an extra crunch, you can add slivered almonds or dark chocolate chips.
If you love salty snacks, opt for air-popped popcorn
It’s hard to beat the satisfying crunch of salty potato chips – unfortunately, one bag is loaded with a lot of salt and fat. You can pick up a bag of popcorn ready to toss into the microwave without any fake-butter flavoring or you can pre-pop several cups before you head into the office. You can top it with Parmesan cheese or a dash of salt. You’ll still be able to get your salt fix, with only a fraction of the sodium.
Enjoying a snack is a great way to fend off hunger and to take a break from staring at a computer screen. Here’s to healthy snacking!