It’s 3pm, your stomach is rumbling louder than a passing garbage truck, and you’re feeling sluggish and rageful. Sound familiar? Then it’s time to change your snack game - for the good of you and everyone who deals with your hanger on the reg.
The trick? Picking healthy, filling snacks with a good mix of protein, fat and complex carbs.
“I love to pair fibre and protein or fibre and fat for a snack that keeps your energy levels up and prevents you from feeling like you need a nap at 2pm under your desk!” Says Andrea Hardy, RD.
If that feels a little vague (or your not sure where to begin), check out these super-filling snack ideas that are all nutritionist-approved.
Calories: 102 per 1/4 cup
Nutritionists LOVE hummus—and for good reason. “This snack is packed with protein and fibre and will keep you feeling satisfied for a couple hours,” says Marisa Moore, R.D.N. Pair it with fresh veggies like grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, or carrots. Or, if you want something crunchier, try whole grain or rice crackers, says Alanna Waldron, R.D.
2. Hard-boiled eggs
Want a power-packed snack? Boil some eggs. “Not only are they convenient and portable once they are hard-boiled, but they are also a nutrient powerhouse,” says Emily Kyle, R.D.N., who raises her own egg-laying chickens.
Registered dietitian Anne Danahy suggests topping a sliced hard-boiled egg with a bit of spicy mustard, plus a handful of mini sweet peppers and almonds. Want something a little sweeter? Ginger Hultin R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends pairing your egg with half an apple sliced for easy snacking.
Calories: 188 per cup
Edamame doesn’t have to be just a once-in-a-while appetiser. A cup of edamame with a little sea salt is a great anytime snack that’s full of protein, fibre, and antioxidants, not to mention satiating, says Alanna Cabrero, R.D.N. “I like them in the pod because it forces you to eat it slowly,” she says. “I do make sure they are organic to avoid GMOs.”
4. KIND Protein Bar
If you need a quick snack, choose this grab-and-go option from KIND. “[It’s] nutritionally balanced, providing you with protein and healthy fats to keep you full and a good source of carbs to keep your energy levels up,” says Emily Holdorf, R.D.N.
5. Cheese and Fruit
Calories: 108 for half an apple and light string cheese
“A snack of fruit paired with cheese is one of my favourites because it's a non-traditional mix of sweet and salty flavours,” says registered dietitian Kim Hoban. “The cheese offers up protein and fat for longevity and fruit gives you carbs for a quick energy boost.”
One great combo? String cheese and half an apple sliced, says Anita Mirchandani, R.D., and spokesperson for the New York State Dietetic Association. “The protein-carbohydrate combination will keep your blood sugar stabilised without spiking it,” she says.
6. Turkey roll-ups
Calories: Approximately 104
For a savoury afternoon snack, Danahy suggests spreading some hummus, shredded red cabbage, and carrots on a few slices of turkey. Then, roll it up for a neat snack package.
“Try to make a snack out of at least three different, colourful whole foods, put them on a plate, and take a few minutes to refuel and recharge,” she says. “That kind of a snack also gives you some nice variety, colour, texture and flavour, and it just satisfies so much better than just a piece of fruit.”
Calories: 110-200, depending on your recipe
Pre-workout, post-workout, or anytime—a smoothie can be a smart snack. Jessica Levinson, R.D.N., loves a smoothie made with low-fat (and gut-healthy) kefir, fruit, and add-ins of your choice like nut butter, flaxseed, chia seeds, or hemp seeds. It combines protein, healthy fat, and fibre.
“This trifecta will keep you satiated in between meals and prevent blood sugar from rising and falling too quickly,” she says.
8. RX Bars
On the outside RxBars look pretty simple, but that’s also the beauty of these bars. “[They] can be a great on-the-go bar that contains protein, carbs, and fats with just a few ingredients—and no added sugar,” says Hoban. In fact, they list exactly what’s inside each package, typically three to four ingredients.
Calories: 196 per 49-nut serving
Want some bang for your buck? Snack on pistachios. “You can enjoy 49 nuts per serving, which is more than any other snack nut,” says Kyle. “They contain an excellent balance of nutrients including plant-based protein, heart-healthy fat and dietary fibre.”
Cabrero and Danahy both opt for shelled nuts because it forces you to slow down your eating.
10. Trail Mix
Calories: Approximately 241 (with 1/2 cup popcorn, 1/8 cup almonds, and 1/4 cup dried cranberries)
Trail mix isn’t just for hiking, says Hultin. “Make your own trail mix by combining unsweetened dried fruit, unsalted nuts, and popcorn in a snack-size bag for a quick trail mix,” she says. “Complex carbohydrates like fruit, veggies, or whole grains (think whole-wheat crackers or popcorn) are high in fibre and nutrients so they are an important part of a healthy snack.”
Make your trail mix nut-free with roasted chickpeas and fava beans, popcorn (plain with olive oil and sea salt), and dried fruit, says Levinson.
11. Sunflower butter toast and half a banana
One of Mirchandani's go-to afternoon pick-me-ups: two tablespoons of SunButter spread on whole-grain toast topped with half a banana sliced. The healthy fat and protein of the nut butter combined with the potassium and sugar from the banana will help you power through your afternoon.
12. Walnuts and apricots
Calories: 270 for 1/4 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened apricots
“This classic flavour combination delivers good fats balanced with fibre-rich, sweet chewy apricots,” says Moore. “Enjoy this combo on the go or add a couple small cubes of aged cheese for a cheeseboard snack vibe with staying power.”
13. Apples and nut butter
Calories: 308 for one apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter
You can’t go wrong with this duo, thanks to the fibre in the fruit and healthy, mostly mono-unsaturated fats in the nut butter, says Waldron.
One fun way to prep your snack—make an apple-nut butter sandwich, says Cabrero. Cut an apple in half, remove the stem and seeds, and add some nut butter and cinnamon in the middle before sandwiches the halves together. “[It’s] easy to make and travel with and so good and satisfying,” she says.
14. Greek yoghurt
Calories: 146 per 200g container
“Greek Yoghurt with trail mix or nuts provides a nice combination of protein, carbs and healthy fats," says Hoban. "This snack can be super satisfying with a little bit of sweetness and crunch, plus it definitely has staying power to keep you full between meals."
15. Cottage cheese and berries
Calories: 277 for one cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1/4 cup blueberries and seven walnut halves.
Want another dairy option? Try reduced-fat cottage cheese topped with chopped nuts and berries, says Levinson. Walnuts, pistachios, and almonds are her top three nut recommendations.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.