There’s just something about that stretch between lunch and dinner. It’s around 3pm, the day’s workload is starting to thin, your mind is drifting and you inevitably start thinking about your stomach. It’s so tempting to crack open the biscuit tin and grab a few choccie bikkies while the kettle is boiling but you know you really shouldn’t.
If only there were some healthy options for a mid-afternoon snack…
Well, there are!
Snacking gets a bad rap because we tend to confuse it with ‘treats’, which indeed are indulgent, often sugar filled confectionery. But it is actually important to snack once or twice a day between meals in order to keep your metabolism going, otherwise your body may hold onto that next meal as if it’s the last one it is going to get for a while. The trick, of course, is to find healthy, nutritious snacks that fill you up and provide an energy kick without going straight to your waist. The key to this is protein, as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
So here is a list of some of our favourite protein rich, high-energy snacks that will help you make it to your next meal without blowing out your daily calorie intake:
Table of Contents
1. Trail Mix
This combination of nuts, dried fruit, grains and dark chocolate is an excellent source of energy and protein. It is also quite delicious as the combination of rich nuts, sweet fruit and a little bit of chocolate just ticks all the right boxes for many of us. Of course, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Although trail mix is made up of all natural ingredients (well, except for the chocolate but this usually comes in small amounts), nuts and dried fruit do tend to be quite high in calories. But as it’s a good source of protein you’ll probably find just a handful or two will do the trick nicely.
2. Peanut Butter
You may have noticed in recent years the emergence of ‘100%’ peanut butter? Quite a few brands now offer this newer style of the popular spread which—as the name suggests—is free of all the sugars and additives that come in traditional PB. Without all those unnatural ingredients, this new style of peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and natural healthy fats, making it an ideal option for a snack. Spread it on a celery stick or a few slices of apple for a little afternoon booster.
Jerky is meat that has been seasoned and then dried to become a blast of delicious protein. It can be made from various meats, including kangaroo, venison, even crocodile. But the most common kind is beef jerky. Good, healthy jerky requires the use of lean meat, usually topside, meaning it is very high in protein, and very low in fat and carbs. It is important though, to check the nutritional information on the packet before purchasing because some store-bought jerky contains a lot of sugar and other unnatural ingredients. It is best to stick to brands that use fresh beef that is mildly seasoned and then dried.
4. Hard Boiled Egg
Simple, but effective. Eggs are nutrient rich, being high in Vitamin B and trace minerals. They also contain roughly six grams of protein each, keeping you feeling fuller for longer which helps keep the appetite down throughout the day. A simple hard boiled egg may not be to everybody’s taste, but with a pinch of salt, and perhaps a dash of your favourite sauce, they can be pretty satisfying even for the fussy eater. Keep in mind, condiments like ketchup and BBQ sauce are high in sugar so try to avoid using them. Instead, think about worcestershire sauce or a vinegar based chilli sauce.
Yoghurt is an excellent option for a snack, but do avoid the sweetened and flavoured yoghurts that are common in the dairy section. For a high protein, low sugar snack you’re much better off using Greek yoghurt. For some, it can be a bit bland by itself, but if you mix in a little fruit or granola, you have a nutritious snack that will see you happily through to your next meal.
Almonds are a good source of protein as well as Vitamin E, riboflavin, trace minerals and healthy fats. They are an excellent snack for those trying to control their weight because just a handful can keep you feeling satisfied up until your next meal. Unsalted almonds are best, but if you do like a bit of extra flavour, some brands offer smoked almonds. Somehow the smoked flavour makes them taste a bit like bacon. But of course, it’s best to enjoy in moderation as the nuts are high in calories, and added flavours tend to come with a higher salt content.
Snacking is important in keeping your appetite down between meals. Additionally, those of you on a fitness journey will know that high resistance exercise such as weight training makes consuming protein after a workout necessary to rebuild muscle. So if you’re working out between meals, it makes a lot of sense to incorporate high protein snacks into your fitness regime. Sure, there are plenty of supplements available, but it’s always good to kill two birds with one stone by upping your protein intake through healthy snacks that will take your mind off your stomach and help you focus.