Do you ever get to work or into your day and find yourself starving? Lunch is still hours away, but you know you need to eat something right away to maintain your sanity. Mid-morning healthy snacks are a must in my opinion.
Hopefully by now, you know that you need to eat a healthy breakfast to start your day off right. You can read more about why breakfast is so important here, and how to build a healthy breakfast here.
I can never go from breakfast to lunch without eating in between. However, with my schedule, I eat breakfast pretty early, around 6:30am. Lunch is not until 12:30pm. Six hours is way too long to go without eating. I like to eat smaller meals every three hours. You can read more about why I do that in this post. The first thing you need to do is look at your daily schedule and determine if there is a long period of time between breakfast and lunch. If so, a mid-morning snack can be just the thing you need.
Of course a snack will take the edge off of your hunger, but it will also allow you to focus more on your job or whatever it is you are doing that day. Your mind will be clearer to think about other things besides food. You will also be more efficient at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, and get it done faster and more thoroughly. The best part is that it will keep your metabolism humming, which means you are going to be continuously burning calories.
Your mid-morning snack must be chosen carefully though. You do not want to hit a vending machine for processed junk, or the office candy bowl for sugar-laden treats. These types of food will only derail your efforts and make you feel sluggish, tired, and unfocused. This means you will have to do some planning and prepping. Your best bet is to prepare and pack your own healthy snacks ahead of time so they are ready to go. You are more likely to eat healthy food when it’s within reach and ready to eat.
A good healthy snack should include some healthy carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Turn to whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean sources of protein. From the snack choices I have listed below, you can pick two or three to build a mid-morning snack that will tide you over until lunch, but won’t derail your healthy eating plan. If your window between breakfast and lunch is shorter, choose two items. If it’s longer like mine, go ahead and up that to three items.
#1 – Rice cake with peanut butter
This is one of my go-tos. I keep a sleeve of rice cakes and a jar of peanut butter in my desk drawer at work and in my pantry at home at all times. Rice cakes are made from whole grains and they are pretty light, at only 35 calories. They are not going to give you much nutrition in the way of fiber, but if you are looking for volume without the calories, they are a great choice. Adding two tablespoons of peanut butter to the rice cake gives you the protein and healthy fat that will help satisfy your hunger. Just be sure to measure two tablespoons until you have that measurement down.
#2 – Veggies and hummus
This is another super easy snack that is always around in our house. The key here is to make sure the veggies are ready for eating. When I get them home from the grocery store, I wash and cut them up right away. They go in plastic baggies or containers in the fridge for easy snacking. I like to mix up the types of veggies I buy so we don’t get bored. Some great options for dipping raw veggies into hummus include carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, any color bell pepper, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and radishes. You can buy all different flavors of hummus, or you can make your own. Check out this post to see how easy it is! A serving of this snack will give you a healthy dose of fiber and vitamins from the veggies, and protein and fiber from the hummus.
#3 – Yogurt and fruit
Yogurt is a healthy staple in many people’s kitchens. But you need to be very careful about flavored yogurts. They are usually loaded with added sugar. Your best bet is to buy plain yogurt and jazz it up yourself. Greek yogurt will have more protein than regular yogurt, so if you can, go Greek. Stir in your favorite fresh fruit and you have delicious naturally-sweetened yogurt. Some good options are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, and peaches. If you still need a little sweetness, a very small amount of honey or agave nectar can go a long way, but try to get used to it with just the fruit. Remember, it takes a few weeks for something to become a habit, so try it more than once!
#4 – Cheese and crackers
I’m not talking about the old-fashioned Ritz crackers here. You need to pick your cracker wisely. Look for one that is 100% whole grain, like Wheat Thins or Triscuits. Then make sure you pay close attention to the serving size on the box. Did you know that a serving of Triscuits is only 6 crackers? Keep it to one serving or even less. As for cheese, definitely do not go fat-free. It has no flavor and may have added artificial ingredients. You can decide between low-fat and full-fat. Just make sure it tastes good to you. The key here again is serving size. Stick to 1 ½ ounces of cheese.
#5 – Lettuce wraps
If you are looking for a low-carb snack, this one is for you. Take a large lettuce leaf and wrap it around two thin slices of turkey. You can also add one slice of cheese if you want, other veggies like roasted red peppers or tomatoes, avocado, and a low calorie sauce like mustard. So easy, healthy, and it will help carry you through until lunch without feeling weighed down.
Try out a few different combinations of snacks and see how you feel. If you need further personalized snack planning help, please sign up for a nutrition consultation.