A healthy, nutritious and balanced snack can help you get through a stressful afternoon in the office and ultimately beat that 3pm slump.
You just need to be mindful of what you're putting in your mouth. While it's tempting to reach for the biscuit tin or the lolly jar, getting smart with your snacking can keep your eating on track, and help you stay focused as you forge through the afternoon.
Youfoodz dietitian Margaret Mielczarek outlines the six essential foods that make for great afternoon snacking when you're trying to be healthy, and how you can get them at a pinch.
Nuts and seeds
"Nuts like almonds and seeds like sunflower, pumpkin and chia are a great addition to any mid-afternoon snack," says Margaret.
"They are a great source of fibre, protein and healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), so adding nuts and seeds to your snack will keep you full and stabilise your energy levels, while also helping to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
"Almonds are also a good source of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in a number of body processes, including energy production, proper muscle function and regulation of the nervous system. Almonds also contain Vitamin E, which helps to maintain healthy skin, vision and a healthy immune system," she explains.
Yoghurt is one of those go-to foods with so many health benefits.
"Not only does it contain protein - which helps to keep you feeling full for longer - it's also a great source of probiotics (good bacteria found in fermented foods that support a healthy gut!) and calcium (important for bone health)," explains Margaret.
"Yoghurt is also a very versatile snack. You can bulk it out with fruit, nuts and seeds, and even granola for the added fibre-rich crunch," she says.
Margaret explains blueberries, cranberries and goji berries are packed with nutrition and are a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants.
"Blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, which is known to support a healthy immune system and assist in wound healing and are a good source of Vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting," she says.
"Cranberries contain manganese, which is a mineral that’s important for growth and metabolism, and the antioxidant Quercetin, which helps to reduce inflammation and Goji Berries are a good source of Vitamin A (important for good vision and skin) and Zinc (helps maintain a healthy immune system)," Margaret details.
If you’re craving something a little bit sweeter and more indulgent when 3 pm strikes, dark chocolate is a much better option than the regular milk variety.
Margaret says, "Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, which is required for a lot of body processes, including energy production and normal muscle function. It also contains antioxidants, which help fight free radicals preventing cell damage."
If you're still ravenous after lunch, a can of tuna will give you a much-needed protein hit.
As Margaret explains, "Tuna is an excellent addition to crackers or veggies. It's a great source of healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), which are important for heart health. Tuna also contains protein to help keep you full for longer, Vitamin D (essential for bone health) and Selenium, which is a mineral that plays a role in metabolism and thyroid function.
The most versatile of any snacks, veggie sticks are a fantastic accompaniment to so many foods.
"They go well with tinned tuna or dips like tzatziki and pack a nutrient-punch, including fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It's also a great way to up your veggie intake, too," shares Margaret.
No time to prep? Purchase plenty of pre-made snacks and meals from Youfoodz.