Do you find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin at 4pm each day, rather than a healthy snack that will nourish you? The mid-afternoon slump hits us all, but while it’s tempting to opt for a sugary treat, the happiness of doing so is bittersweet if you later regret wolfing down empty calories and refined sugar. Sugar gets absorbed into your body quicker than more complex carbohydrates, and therefore raises your blood sugar faster. The downfall to this is that, although you get a rapid spike in energy, it is often short lived and can leave you feeling sluggish shortly after. Choosing the right snacks, she adds, could supply extra nutrients, help you hit your five-a-day and reduce your hunger levels so you’re more likely to make healthier choices at meal times.
Here’s a round up of the best guilt free, satisfying nibbles to quell those unavoidable between-meal hunger pangs.
The mid-morning pick-me-up
Try: Deliciously Ella Energy Ball (£1.99 for 40g)
Why it works: It’s no surprise bite-size energy balls are quickly climbing the healthy snacking ladder: they’re tasty, portable and packed with natural goodness. Ideal for when lunch time seems a long way away, Deliciously Ella’s creations are made with just four ingredients: ginger, cashews, oats and dates. Ginger not only adds a jolt of flavour, it has an abundance of health benefits ginger is good for the immune system and joint health, thanks to its high content ‘gingerol’ which is an anti-inflammatory compound.
The one to satisfy your sweet tooth
Try: Hangry Cranky Cocoa (£1.75 for 40g)
Why it works: Hangry and cranky because you’re craving a chocolate hit? We’ve all been there. But with this raw, cold-pressed bar you can have the sweet taste without actually consuming any sugar. You’ll get a delicious blend of cocoa nibs, dates, almonds, oats, cashews and sunflower seeds – all in just 169 calories. Recent studies have shown just a handful of almonds a day can boost your dietary health: they are full of copper and manganese, both of which ensure energy flows efficiently through your body.
The nutritional powerhouse
Try: Mello Watermelon Seeds (£3.49 for 125g)
Why it works: When you think of the health benefits of a sweet, juicy watermelon, it’s most likely the seeds don’t initially spring to mind. Yet, dried and roasted, they make a great snack, loaded with fibre, iron, and potassium- and just 100g of watermelon seeds contain around 28g of protein. Watermelon seeds are a source of magnesium which is used in the body for energy creation, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscle movement and nervous system regulation. Keep a pack on your desk to graze on throughout the day.
The crisp alternative
Try: Ape Salted Coconut Curls (£1.49 for 20g)
Why it works: Fancy a packet of crisps? Try these instead: crunchy coconut curls, made simply from coconut and natural rock salt. Among numerous health benefits, coconut contains lots of ‘good’ saturated fats, meaning it’s a great energy source. While the downfall of this can be a high calorie content, at fewer than 110 calories per pack, these curls get the balance just right.
The energy boost
Try: Kallo Quinoa & Seeds Multigrain Cakes with Sunflower, Sesame & Pumpkin Seeds (£2.39 for 130g)
Why it works: These high-fibre multigrain cakes are much more nutritionally dense than heavier carbohydrates like white bread. Schenker explains: ‘quinoa is a good choice to help you feel more in control of your appetite, which in turn can reduce stress levels.’ Plus sunflower seeds – often referred to as super seeds – contain high levels of powerful antioxidant Vitamin E, proven to keep muscles healthy. Delicious topped with hummus or nut butter!