I’m a big advocate of eating whenever we feel hungry; the tricky thing is differentiating hunger from anxiety or boredom. Learning to listen to our bodies is not an easy task, but the more aware we are of its needs, the easier it’ll be to make healthy food choices.
So it’s 3 p.m., and hunger is starting to manifest. You had lunch a few hours ago, but dinner is still a couple of hours from now… What do you do?
The first thing I recommend when hunger attacks is to have a big glass of water and wait 10 minutes. If the feeling is still around, it’s because you are really hungry, so grab a healthy snack. If the sensation disappears, it was probably just some sort of craving.
Now some people have the misconception that a healthy snack can be a fruit yogurt, a granola bar, or any fat free product, but all these are usually packed with sugars.
Here’re some ideas of what a healthy and energizing snack should look like:
– One brown rice cake with a tablespoon of natural peanut/almond butter and blueberries. When looking for any nut butter, make sure that the only ingredients are the nut and maybe some sea salt.
– A small apple and a handful of raw unsalted nuts.
– Two tablespoons of hummus with some carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices, or a serving of whole grain crackers. If you want to make it at home, check out my antioxidant-packed turmeric hummus recipe HERE. For plain natural hummus, just leave the turmeric out.
– A good quality protein bar. As I’ve mentioned before, when looking for a bar you want to make sure that it has less than 200 calories, less than 200mg of sodium, and less than 7 grams of sugar.
– A cup or two of homemade popcorn with a handful of raw unsalted nuts. If you have an air popcorn maker, that’s great. If not, just use the stove and add only one tablespoon of coconut oil. Watch the salt!
A very important thing is to include protein in all your meals and snacks. The protein helps regulate your blood sugar levels, which is very important when eating carbs. Some plant-based protein sources are raw nuts, nut/peanut butter, hemp seeds, hummus, beans, and quinoa.