Do you crave some sweets or salty snacks at three o’clock in the afternoon? Every day? There is just something about the magical three o’clock afternoon snack. At the office, I see everybody is going for the snack table or the wending machine and I can hear the wrappers crinkling. Did you know that cravings typically happen in the afternoon because blood sugar levels drop as more time passes from lunch? A decrease in blood sugar levels can increase the need to eat to get a rise in energy. Or perhaps you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Having a bad sleep not only affects your mood and concentration but also how we eat the following day.
Here are my 5 tips to beat your afternoon cravings
1. Try alternatives to unhealthy snack
Try some nuts with some veggies. Nuts and seeds are rich in phosphorus compounds, which are fuel for our batteries and are great warming fuel sources for cold weather. However, nuts and seeds are acidic and therefore recommended to be eaten with alkaline vegetables (for example cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or dark leafy greens). As an alternative to nuts, you can increase your intake of seeds such as flax, hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower.
2. Have some fresh fruits and veggies
I always have an apple or carrots sticks with me. If I look at them and I know that is the only thing that I can snack on and I do not want them, that means I am not hungry. True. I wasn’t hungry, I just wanted a granola bar or some crackers. Fun Fact: Did you know that according to Ayurveda, fruit should be eaten as its own meal for better digestion and not mixed with your meal? Fruits are easily digestible food. When combined with other food, digestion is difficult, and the fruit stays in the stomach for as long as it takes to digest the slowly degradable food. When the fruit is in your stomach for a long time, fermentation occurs which disturbs the absorption of nutrients from the cells and disturbs the digestive process including eliminating waste. When you eat fruit as its own meal, you will feel no swelling, burning in the abdomen, gas and your metabolism will improve.
3. Drink water
You might be just dehydrated. Even slight dehydration can cause fatigue. I love plain water, or you can make it more fun by drinking fizzy water or infused water.
4. Drink tea
Tea is a great treat in the afternoon. Drink a cup of caffeinated tea if you think you need a bit more energy or herbal teas if you are planning to go to bed early. There are so many varieties in the market, have fun trying out new flavors.
5. Have a healthy high fiber and protein rich-lunch
Fiber is found in vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), and whole grains. Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system. The best protein sources are quinoa, legumes, seeds (hemp, chia, flax), green leafy vegetables including broccoli, just to name a few. Proteins not only give us energy, but proteins help provide structure to our tissues and cells and support our immunity. Note: Increasing protein does not necessarily suggest increasing meat or caloric intake. Excess protein will be stored as fat, not muscle!
Do you have any fun tips on how you beat your afternoon snack craving? I would love to hear your trick.
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