tips to satisfy your ‘snack tooth’

maria thomas popsguest blogger: vancouver dietitian maria thomas dishes expert tips to satisfy your mid-day snack cravings 

it’s two hours after lunch and you have that feeling in your stomach…you’re hungry, but it’s not quite dinner time! there are tons of healthier options to help fight that mid-afternoon snack craving that still taste great! lucky for you, i’m here to help! mid-afternoon snacking doesn’t have to ruin your day. in fact, if done right, it can set you up to eat less at dinner and go to bed without feeling stuffed. here are some of my top tips to help guide your afternoon snacking on a fun and successful path:

why should we snack? (besides the fact that snacking is fun!) i’m a huge fan of snacks. i had a client tell me once that when they wait too long to eat, they enter a mood that they affectionately termed “hangry” = hungry + angry.

i could relate because this same thing happens to me when i get so busy and caught up working that  before i know it, i look at my watch, and its 2pm and i’m famished.  so, in addition to helping curb appetite, stabilize metabolism so your body is better at burning calories and of course fat, it can also help keep you from getting “hangry”

what mid-afternoon snacks do you love? when i’m working from home i like a small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit, or a piece of toast with peanut butter, or sliced peppers and celery with hummus.

when i’m at the office my go-to snacks are a lara bar or a banana or apple (because they travel pretty easily) and some pumpkin seeds. if i’m there all day, i’ll throw in some greek yogurt!

what is a good snack for the always-on-the-go? i’m a fan of fresh fruit or a healthy granola! the trick is to find one that is higher in both protein and fibre and then you’ve hit the jackpot! it will be ketchup popchipsperfect for helping curb appetite and keeping cravings at bay.

when i’m out and about running errands and need something fast, i don`t necessarily want to buy a box of granola bars from a grocery store, and buying yogurt requires that i also have a spoon, plus a spot to sit and eat it. trust me- eating yogurt while driving is pretty much out of the question (yes, i’m saying this from experience!)

this is when you might be tempted to grab a bag of chips, but don`t succumb to a bag of full fat, deep-fried potato chips with 400+ calories with and enough sodium to blow your daily limit two fold, not to mention the extra hour you’ll have to workout on the treadmill to burn it off.  this is when grabbing something like a single-serve bag of popchips is perfect (and you must try their yummy new ketchup popchips)! a small bag only has about 100 calories, and you’ll recognize everything in the list of ingredients!

what if i can’t tell if i’m hungry or just bored? what do i do!  so often we eat for reasons other than being actually hungry. if you can’t tell if you’re actually hungry or bored, before you grab something from the fridge, local cafe or the vending machine, wait a few minutes. a trick is to focus your energy and attention on something else for 5 minutes – whether that is sending an email or going to speak with a colleague or going for a 5 minute walk. basically, give yourself a 5 minute distraction. if that little distraction takes your mind off the food and you forget about it, it wasn’t hunger! another tip, is if you are thirsty, you may actually think you are hungry, when you are not.  before reaching for a bite, have a few sips of water-that might be all it takes to curb those cravings.

what’s one snack you must have in the pantry at all times? one snack i must have in the pantry is popcorn. it’s easy, fast and actually whole grain! i recently had popcorn with black pepper on it-to my surprise it was so yummy!

hungry for more?  click here to get maria’s free snack list “10 healthy snacks to curb your cravings!”

why maria thomas pops: whether on camera or behind the scenes for hit tv shows the last 10 pounds bootcamp, bulging brides, village on a diet, entertainment tonight canada or the steven and chris show, or working with clients helping them achieve their health and wellness goals, vancouver-based registered dietitian maria thomas, owner of www.cutmycholesterol.com, a 4 week online weight loss and heart health program, and  www.urbannutrition.com is fast becoming recognized as one of canada’s leading health experts. follow her on twitter @marianutrition and facebook at facebook.com/urbannutrition for awesome nutrition tips!

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