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Writer and expert /
It’s 3pm and your concentration has waned. By 3:30 you’ve got ‘3:30-itis’ and you are craving some food out of hunger or boredom, or both. There is a vending machine in the corner of the office and it’s calling your name…
STOP! Move away from the vending machine!
STOP! Move away from the vending machine!
Whilst these foods look appealing with their bright coloured packaging, these pre-packaged, over processed foods are almost always high in fat and processed sugars. Not only are they bad for your health, but they’re also likely to cause a sugar slump which results in reduced energy and productivity levels for the rest of the afternoon!
To help you stay away from the vending machine, we’ve put together a bunch of healthy substitutes to curb your afternoon hunger. Best of all, most of the healthy snacks below can be purchased at the supermarket or made on the weekend ready to take into the office on Monday i.e. no more ‘I’ve got no time’ complaints!
Replace it with homemade chocolate protein balls
There’s no denying that a big choc chip cookie is delicious but one choc chip cookie is full of empty calories and isn’t going to keep you satisfied for long. Homemade chocolate protein balls are a great replacement and extremely easy to make! They are obviously full of protein which will keep you feeling fuller for longer and also have ‘good’ fats when you combine them with delicious nut butters.
How to make them: Take 1 scoop (1/4 Cup) of chocolate whey protein powder + 2 tbs agave + 2 tbs nut butter (peanut, almond, hazelnut). Mix together until well combined and then shape the mixture into balls . Roll the balls into shredded coconut or chopped nuts for that added crunch. Put in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them!
Try wasabi peas or toasted pita chips with hummus instead.
Available in supermarkets and a lot of Japanese stores, wasabi peas are a great source of protein and fibre and the spice means you’re less likely to over eat these. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods then try toasted pita with hummus instead. Toasting the pita will help with your cravings for something crunchy and the hummus is a great source of protein and fibre too. Not interested in hummus? Then try the pita chips with half an avocado and a squeeze of lemon or lime instead.
How to make them: Turn on your oven to 180C of 355F. Take one pita bread and brush of 1 tsp of olive oil all over the bread. If you a little extra flavour, try dusting some sumac over the bread or a light sprinkle of sea salt. Cut the pita like a pizza into 8 pieces. Put the bread in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until nicely browned and crisp. Pack your bread into an air tight container and crack out when you get hungry!
Eat 70%+ chocolate or give chocolate covered berries a try.
If you know that you simply cannot stay away from chocolate in the afternoon, then why don’t you try chocolate covered berries instead? Choose a dark chocolate high in cocoa content (70%+) as these will contain less sugar and more cocoa. Combining berries and chocolate together results in a snack that’s high in antioxidants and sweet enough to cut out your cravings for a processed chocolate bar.
How to make them: Melt your dark chocolate in the microwave (30 seconds and then take it out and give it a good stir. Repeat until all the chocolate is melted). Get a skewer and piece your berries on the skewer. Roll the berries in the chocolate and put on a wire rack in the fridge to set.
Try a medjool dates or a jeweled yogurt pot full of fruit and seeds instead.
Gummy bears, jelly beans and sour worms are just a few of the sweet treats in the vending machine that we crave when we need an afternoon pep-up! The only problem is that we’re likely to need an afternoon nap about 20 minutes after we’ve eaten these sugary treats.
A jeweled yogurt pot is a much better option because it’s full of pro-biotics and fibre and a great way to eat jazz up the way you eat fruit! A yogurt pot is essentially a layer of yogurt topped with naturally sweet and brightly coloured fruits such as dried cranberries and frozen mangoes. Not only does it look pretty but sure keep your stomach satisfied until dinner!
How to make them: Fill a small container 3/4 full with some greek or natural yogurt (steer clear of low fat versions as they contain more sugar). Then sprinkle in some dried cranberries, frozen mango chunks (or frozen berries) and drizzle with honey. When you are ready to eat your jeweled yogurt pot, add some dry roasted coconut flakes or sunflower seeds to give it that extra crunch!
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