Something that I recommend for almost all of the women whom I’ve worked with is eating protein at afternoon snack. Why is this a nutrition game changer? Because in my experience, it helps with a lot of the problems that women come to me for help with regarding their eating in the afternoon and evening. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- Cravings for junk food in the late afternoon.
- Energy crashing at about 4pm.
- Constant nibbling while you’re cooking.
- Getting too hungry to last until you can actually make dinner so instead you pick up take out/ go through a drive-through/ eat out.
If so, then eating protein at an afternoon snack is worth trying. Here’s why:
Human beings digest a meal and get hungry again in about 4 hours. As our blood sugar drops, our body sends signals to us that we’re hungry. If we don’t respond by eating something that subsequently raises our blood sugar, our bodies send more and more urgent messages. Messages that drive us towards the high sugar, fat, salt, very tasty foods. It’s what the feeling of ‘hangry’ is all about.
Assuming that you’ve eaten lunch at about noon, it’s natural that you start to feel hungry again at about 4pm. The food choices that you make at lunch will impact how long you last before you start to get hungry. Some choices will mean that you will feel hungry again in less than 4 hours. But that’s the topic of a whole different blog post J
The longer that you wait until you eat again, the more your body will drive you towards those high sugar, fat, salt, very tasty foods. It’s a physiological drive, not a lack of will power, that causes you to eat those foods before dinner.
The secret to making healthy food choices in the afternoon and evening is to prevent ‘hangry’ by having an afternoon snack. Including protein at your afternoon snack can help your body digest your snack more slowly, thus causing more even blood sugar and fewer cravings for junk foods.
Pair your protein food with some veggies and/or fruits for a perfect combination of nutrients. Examples include:
- A piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts.
- Raw veggies with white bean dip.
- Chia coconut pudding topped with fruit.
- Collard leaf wrapped around sliced hard boiled egg and bell peppers.
- Plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh or dried fruit.
- Apple slices or a banana dipped in nut butter (e.g. peanut butter, almond butter).
- Protein powder smoothie made with fresh or frozen fruit and leafy greens (e.g. spinach).
Eat protein at your afternoon snack. It’s a nutrition game changer for preventing craving junk food in the late afternoon. And, it’ll help buy you enough time to make a healthy dinner before ‘hangry’ hits.
What’s your favourite afternoon snack that includes protein? Share it in a comment below!
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