Some days that 3 p.m. slump really hits hard—and with daylight saving time just having thrown a bit of a wrench into our internal clocks, these days might leave you feeling like you’re almost jet-lagged (remember how that feels?). While there are things you can do to try to avoid it in the first place, if you suddenly feel a bit like you’re losing steam and could use a bit of a snack, we’re here to help.
The key to healthy snacking is smart choices with foods that help keep your blood sugar balanced and therefore your energy levels up. To do that, go for a combination of nutrients like fiber, fat, and protein. It’ll keep you satiated and energized, without a crash. Here are a few ideas to help you through your to-do list this afternoon:
1. Keep it simple with guacamole and veggies.
Guacamole is a staple for any dip enthusiast, and dips are a perfect part of a balanced snack. A good source of healthy fats thanks to the avocados, this one goes one better with a serving of vegetables and only requires four ingredients. Pair it with fresh crunchy veggies like bell peppers, cucumbers, raw broccoli, or carrots.ADVERTISEMENT
2. Toss together a quick yogurt bowl.
Yogurt is the perfect base for a satisfying snack, especially when you pick a full-fat Greek yogurt or high-quality plant-based option. But don’t let your yogurt make you feel stuck with a sweet option: Purchasing unsweetened yogurt opens up your options to both sweet and savory yogurt snacking bowls. Pair yogurt, berries, honey, and granola for a sweet option, or top a spread of yogurt with cucumber, crunchy chickpeas, and herbs for a savory version.
3. Blend up your favorite nutrient-packed smoothie.
At the simplest, you can always reach for this two-ingredient juice recipe when you’re really in a snacking bind, but to reap all the benefits of a well-rounded afternoon snack, you’re better off reaching for a smoothie since you can add some more fibrous or protein-heavy ingredients like banana or yogurt. Consider using this six-component formula for the perfect green smoothie or trying a tropical-inspired smoothie bowl for something unique.
4. Reach for a classic protein-packed snack—with a twist.
Hummus is the ultimate afternoon snack; packed with protein and good fats on its own, it always pairs perfectly with veggies. But what if your hummus took a walk on the sweet side? This brownie batter hummus is an even better version of the chocolate hummus you may have skeptically left on the shelf in stores and pairs perfectly with fresh sliced fruit.
5. Snack on a bar that’s full of favorite ingredients.
It may seem simple, but there’s a reason bars like these endure as an option on store shelves: They’re convenient and easy to pack into your bag for when you’re on the go. And though you’re likely less on to the go now than in years past, a bar can still provide combinations of nutrients that will fuel your afternoon. Try making them yourself with these low-carb vanilla bars or an R.D.’s go-to recipe.
6. Fall back on nature’s snacks.
Things like fruits and nuts are naturally super snackable, and though it may seem overly simple, you can use them for a quick and easy route to a balanced snack. Pair a high-protein nut like almonds or pistachios with antioxidant-rich fruit like blueberries or blackberries, or take a looser approach and snack on sliced apple with homemade nut butter.
7. Make some homemade crackers.
There’s something to be said for a classic snack like crackers, and by making them yourself you take control of the ingredients in them. Not only that, but a simple baking project like making these protein-packed everything crackers can become a mindful moment in a busy day, and a break from work to do something tactile might give you an extra boost. Pair the crackers with a simple dip or some healthy cheese to add some good fats and protein.
For even simpler snacking ideas, look to expert-approved heart-healthy snacks like these for inspiration—just keep in mind that you may want to pull a few options together to make a balanced snack that will keep you full and fully functioning through your day.