We’ve all been through this dilemma: It’s 3 pm, and you’re tired, hungry and experiencing some cravings. And though you recognize the craving, you also know you need some fuel for your afternoon class that chips or chocolate just cannot provide. Sometimes, it’s tempting to just give in or ignore the craving, but this tends to be a bit of a disaster. We think the best way to combat this situation is to recognize the craving and learn how to snack smart so that you feel fueled.
There are so many different healthy snack combinations that go well beyond your work’s snack drawer and can be a great thing to keep on hand for afternoon energy slumps. To help you get started on your snack grocery list, we pinpointed five of the major cravings that tend to hit and two different ways to curb the craving. Whether you tend to go for all natural, whole foods or enjoy some fun natural packaged products, we’ve got options for you.
When you’re craving something…
Whole Food: Crunchy vegetables
Packaged: Roasted chickpeas like Biena Snacks
There is so much satisfaction that comes with a good crunch — but we usually think of chips, cookies or crackers. If you love the feeling of crunchy foods, we recommend grabbing some crunchy vegetables like carrots, mini bell peppers, or even jicama! Roasted chickpeas are another fun snack that provides some crunch. Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, which both provide long-lasting energy and are great pre-workout.
Whole Food: Salted nuts, such as almonds or pistachios
Packaged: Roasted seaweed snacks like gimMe Organics
If you’re sweating a lot in your workout classes, you probably find yourself craving some salt here and there — because sodium lost through sweat is needed for proper electrolyte balance. This can cause for some major salty snack cravings. When this craving strikes, we recommend some salted nuts which are heart healthy because they are loaded with healthy fats. Want to keep something quick in your bag? Seaweed snacks are another salty, vitamin-rich snack that can curb a salt craving in a pinch.
Sweets! They can be so hard to resist, and they’re definitely a craving that can strike when we are stressed from a long day. A healthy way to indulge is to have something sweet but have it be from natural sources. We recommend grabbing a piece of fresh fruit on the go and possibly pairing it with some nut butter or string cheese. Another option is to keep some healthy, natural protein bars on hand. RXbars and Perfect Bars both use dates or honey to give them some sweetness, but also have healthy fats and protein to make them an energy-rich snack.
Whole Food: Almond or cashew butter
Packaged: Guacamole cups like Wholly guacamole
We think the reason why creamy foods are so irresistibly craveable is because foods that are high in fats are so satisfying and nourishing. (That is, if you choose the right ones!) We love to snack on almond butter or cashew butter in times of need or bring individual guacamole cups to have with high-fiber crackers.
Whole Food: Chile dusted mango
Packaged: Wasabi dried edamame
While spicy food may not be for everyone, those who love spice cannot get enough! One nice snack to keep in your lunch box is some fresh fruit dusted with chili powder. The sweet and spicy combo is a perfect way to get vitamins and minerals while still keeping the tingly sensation of the spice. For a quick dose of protein with some spice, pick up some dried wasabi edamame.
In a world where most people are trying not to snack, we say to recognize and embrace when you are hungry. Just be ready to cure your craving and hunger in a healthy way with good snacks on hand! Ignoring hunger can only lead to worse behaviors at main meals and cause overeating. We hope these snacks will inspire you to make a grocery list and start stocking your work fridge with these foods.