A green smoothie for breakfast.
A long black and two hard boiled eggs for morning tea.
Grilled fish with steamed veggies and brown rice for lunch.
One Tim Tam for afternoon tea. Wait, maybe one more Tim Tam. And just a bite of that muffin the coffee guy gave you free this morning. Okay, the whole muffin. And a hot chocolate to wash it down.
Even with the best intentions, when it comes to healthy eating navigating the afternoon slump can be tricky. It's when energy levels dip and we're more inclined to reach for a sugary or salty snack as a pep-up.
Here, we asked two nutritionists to nominate their favourite healthy afternoon snacks to see you through until dinner.
Jacqueline Alwill, Nutritionist and Director of The Brown Paper Bag
Dates with almond butter
This is a great afternoon pick-me-up or post dinner snack, simply use two fresh medjool dates (pitted) with two teaspoons of almond butter. Honestly, it’s like a nutty caramel flavour explosion. Dates are beautiful source of iron and fibre and provide a sweet kick (without the refined sugars) whilst the almond butter has a nutty, creamy texture and a lovely source of plant based amino acids and essential fats.
A green smoothie
You can’t go past upping the veggies in your day, and if crunching on kale and a bunch of mint doesn’t appeal then throwing them into a smoothie with herbs and some coconut water is a great way to increase the fibre, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants in your diet. Taking a smoothie if you’re out and about is also a great way to avoid being stuck between meetings or commitments, hungry and with nothing on hand.
If you’re not a coffee drinker, or want to try giving it up, then a nourishing hot chocolate is definitely for you. I’ll make mine mid morning (when once upon a time I may have stepped out for a coffee) on the stove top with either coconut milk or almond milk, raw cacao powder, vanilla and sweeten it with rice malt syrup or a touch of honey, whichever is on hand. It’s great to have a dairy and refined sugar free alternative to an old time favourite and being rich in magnesium and amines to release good endorphins, will lift energy and mood.
Beet dip and vege sticks
Prep the dip Sunday for the week ahead or buy a preservative and additive free option. I love hummus-based dips for the extra protein hit from delicious chickpeas and tahini, with carrot sticks or vege crackers.
Lyndi Polivnick, dietician and director of The Nude Nutritionist
Snacking on Edamame (soybeans) in the afternoon is a great way to sneak extra vegetables into your diet. Packed with fibre and a good source of plant protein, edamame will keep you full until dinner time. Buy a bag of frozen edamame from an Asian grocer for around $2. To prepare, simply throw a handful into a pot of boiling water and add a touch of salt. Your healthy snack will be ready in a matter of minutes. Stuck in the office? Pop out to your local Japanese joint and order a side of fresh Edamame.
If you’re feeling flat in the afternoon, grab some natural yoghurt or Greek yoghurt and top with frozen berries. Add a tablespoon of seeds for extra fibre. Snacking on greek yoghurt with berries is a great way to get a dairy, probiotics, protein and antioxidants fix. The mix of carbohydrates and protein will also increase your energy whilst keeping you satisfied through until dinner time.
Frozen Fruit Sorbet
When you’re craving something sweet, make a delicious 'nice-cream' by blending your favourite fruits until they are a ‘soft serve’. You can freeze cut up seasonal fruit such as watermelon, berries, grapes, mangoes and stone fruit or buy them in the frozen aisle of supermarkets. This frozen snack cures a sweet tooth, cools you down, quenches thirst and is a great alternative to sugary icy poles. It’s a deliciously simple and healthy snack and with only one ingredient, it is certainly good for you too.