But you don't plan to snack, so you overeat. Then what happens? Grogginess, sleepiness and the inevitable productivity plummet. Your response to said grogginess? Candy, sweets, coffee, and other quick fixes that cause quick blood sugar highs only to be followed by lower lows. The cycle continues forever until you actually go to sleep. Regular, planned snacking can avoid all this.
So how to we snack? Clearly we have to make some smart choices and they don't have to include baby carrots and diced apples. A snack should meet some physical needs (keeping our blood sugar from getting too low) and some mental needs (i.e. Brain Food!).
So we need snacks that meet the following 4 criteria:
Stumped for ideas? Here are 5 snacks that fit that criteria and that you're probably not eating:
1 Spicy Nuts.
Now regular nuts meet our A, B and C requirements. They're crunchy and interesting and full of fat, fiber and protein.
As an added bonus, snacking on these all day really builds up your tolerance for heat.
2 Homemade Salsa and Tortilla Chips.
Tortilla chips with any dip are crunchy, creamy and low on the GI. Salsa is the best choice for a dip because it has the highest flavor/nutrition ratio and because when you make a batch it's good for a week. You can pack it up and take it to work, unlike guacamole, which might make it to the table before it turns brown.
And I say homemade because it's better, cheaper and super easy.
3 Deviled Eggs.
Boiled eggs have the same benefits, but deviled eggs bring a little more flavor to the mouth party.They taste great, they're filling and they have 0 carbs which means they don't even register on the GI. I would call them self regulating because they are not easily packed and transported.
4 Half a Toasted Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich.
A whole sandwich is a bit too much for a snack, but a half is perfect. The peanut butter is the key part here, it's got enough fat, protein and fiber to keep the GI low. The honey provides a nice sweetness with fewer calories (sugar is only 80% as sweet as honey) and it won't create the purple slurm on one side of your sandwich like jelly will.
Don't skip the toasting part though. The toast has a crunchy outside, chewy inside thing that makes this snack interesting; remember that's important.
5 Homemade Popcorn.
It's pure fiber and carbohydrate and it's GI isn't too high. It tastes great and it has the most interesting mouth feel (I'm telling you, that's important) of any snack. It's perfectly healthy if you don't add butter and it's not too bad if you use a healthier olive oil butter spread. It keeps great for a day or so and if you haven't eaten it by then (why would you not eat it by then?) throw it in a bowl with milk and sugar. Popcorn is the original cereal.
And if you make it yourself (don't buy those overpriced bags of microwave popcorn with carcinogenic imitation butter) it's practically free. It literally costs pennies per gallon if you pop it in a wok on your stove.
Snacking is an important part of your day but you have to snack smart. Look for things that have a low GI (fat and fiber) and always plan to snack. It's thinking that you won't eat anything between breakfast and lunch that leaves you standing in front of the candy machine at 10:30 in the morning, starting a cycle that's going to ruin your day.