Our energy levels start to naturally drop around 2 – 3PM and once the motivation drops, we tend to have a hard time bringing our energy levels back up. Right?
In other countries like Brazil and Spain there are 2-hour lunches; a siesta where they can reboot for the remainder of the day. For us, on the other hand, an afternoon snack to bring those energy levels up is always needed.
Here are 15 delicious snacks that will have your energy levels up and your brain bouncing for the rest of the day.
1. A handful of nuts – loaded with minerals and protein, easy to store in your desk or divide into small containers, for a prepackaged, no hassle, quick and easy energy solution.
2. Full-fat yoghurt with a drizzle of honey – You’re saying ‘full-fat yoghurt?’ How is that healthier than fat-free? Firstly, full-fat doesn’t have those pesky stabilisers and the truth is that full-fat, according to our Banting expert Tim Noakes, produces sustained energy without the highs and lows. Enjoy your yoghurt with a handful of berries and some honey.
3. Cucumber and cottage cheese – Sliced cucumber is an excellent alternative to eating chips or carbohydrate-packed crackers. Add a dollop of cottage cheese, a sprinkling of paprika and munch away guilt-free.
4. Peanut butter and carrots – This is a wonderful snack for adults and kids. Just a spoonful of peanut butter will keep you full for longer because it is high in protein. And carrots are rich in antioxidants for a brain boost, plus they’re a bonus for dental health by naturally killing germs. True story.
5. Hard boiled eggs – A brilliant and self-packaged, high protein, low calorie, snack that you can make on the weekend to bring to work daily.
6. Hummus and crackers – You can easily make this fresh and healthy recipe for chickpea hummus at home, pack it into small containers for the week and add 2 or 3 gluten-free crackers (not too many) to your lunchbox.
7. Scrambled eggs and cheese in the microwave – Cheese and eggs will not only curb your afternoon hunger but will keep you full for longer and they are seriously delicious. Take 1 egg, beat it with a fork, toss in a sprinkling of cheese and pop into the microwave for 1 minute, mix with the fork and cook again for 20-30 seconds until fully cooked.
8. Apples and bananas – Nature got it right with its gorgeously designed, one serving, naturally packaged fruit. Apples have a low GI which means you’ll break down the sugar at a much slower rate, giving you sustained energy. Bananas are chock full of potassium which is good for your blood pressure and heart but will also keep your blood sugar levels stable so you don’t suffer a crash in energy.
9. A small bowl of oatmeal – If you have plain oats sitting at your desk, you can take 3-4 tablespoons in a bowl, cover with boiling water (place a plate on top for 3-5 minutes). Add a bit of honey, grated apple and nuts if you want to get fancy.
10. Dates or prunes instead of pastries – If you’ve got a sweet tooth, replacing your afternoon cupcake with a carrot isn’t going to be a smooth transition. Instead, try 1/4 cup of chopped naturally sweet dates or try making these simple date and nut energy bars.
11. Avocado with cottage cheese – Portable and protein-rich, simply cut an avocado in half and fill the side without the pit with 2 tablespoons of full-fat cottage cheese. Season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and serve.
12. Oranges – If you feel an afternoon slump in your future, start your orange-peeling engines. Oranges have high levels of Vitamin C, which has been shown to decrease fatigue around 2 hours after taking it in. So if you know you’re in for a slow afternoon, get ahead of the game with an orange peel and cut them into pieces before you get to work to avoid having sticky fingers at work.
15. Dark Chocolate – Yes, you can indulge in a sweet afternoon treat! Aside from the wonderful taste, dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can help raise focus and energy. Opt for a dark chocolate with less sugar, so that you don’t get a sugar crash later. Many brands now offer chocolate bars that contain 75-80% cacao (or even higher), which is what you’re aiming for.
Guilt-free snacking. If you’re Banting, you will know that regular potato chips and savoury biscuits are on the no-go list as they’re filled with carbs. You have to get creative with snacks… It’s easy to turn salty snacks into delicious low-carb treats.