The after-work snack attack can be the crux of your best efforts when it comes to developing healthy eating habits. After a long and taxing day on the job, you walk in the door feeling hungry, tired and…let’s face it, a little cranky.
Lunch might have been hours ago, or the stress of the day might be making you want comfort food. If the late afternoon hours send you into an eating frenzy, you’re not alone.
Why Do We Get the After-work Snack Attack?
A sneaky snack attack might strike after work for a number of reasons. If you didn’t have the best lunch, you might be hungry from a lack of protein or fiber. If you’re stressed out and wound up, you might have an emotional urge to eat. As things start to slow down and you get a little bored, you might reach for food unconsciously to fill the time.
Having a post-work afternoon snack isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Spacing out your calories during the day can help maintain energy and blood sugar levels. It’s the quality of your snack that can either support your health or cause problems.
Healthy Snacking Tips
Eat an Adequate Lunch – Make sure your lunch is nutrient-dense with a balance of protein, fiber, fat and carbs to help sustain you through the day.
Do an Engaging Activity – If you can’t decipher whether you are truly hungry or want to eat because of stress or boredom, do an engaging activity for 10-30 minutes before asking yourself again if you want a snack.
Control Your Portions – Use portion-controlled containers to eat your snack instead of eating out of a box or bag. This can prevent you from overeating and feeling worse.
Choose Light, Nutritious Snacks – Instead of going for leftover dinner or something heavy like steak and potatoes, choose something light and nutrient-dense – ideally below 300 calories.
Healthy Snack Ideas:
- Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- String cheese and a serving of fruit
- Whole-grain crackers with sliced cheese
- Turkey and cheese on pretzel thins
- Red bell peppers or snacking peppers with hummus
- Cucumbers and turkey
- Rice cakes with a nut butter spread
- Microwave popcorn
With just a little planning and preparation, you can turn your after-work snack attack into a time to refuel. The more you practice healthy habits, the more likely you are to learn strategies that will help you prevent the snack attack from striking in the first place.