Snacks are supposed to satisfy your hunger pains, but so many times it feels like they, well, don’t do anything at all. Raise your hands if cleaned off a bag of pretzels only to walk back into the kitchen 10 minutes later and chow down on everything in sight—candy, chips, spoonful after spoonful of peanut butter. Not exactly the healthiest habit and definitely not effective. So to solve the dreaded 2 PM problem, we chatted with Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and author of EatBEAUTY and The Real Food Grocery Guide, Maria Marlowe, who suggested a few food buys that are not only good for you, but will keep your cravings in check.
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Hummus with Crackers
"Protein and fiber-packed hummus will fill you up without filling you out. Made primarily from chickpeas, which are known to aid in weight loss, don't feel guilty for digging in. You do want to watch out for brands that add unhealthy oils or excessive sodium, though. Instead, choose those made with olive oil and less than 80mg sodium per 2 Tbsp. serving. Pair hummus with carrot or broccoli sticks for even more nutrients and fiber, or a high quality gluten-free cracker."
"Artichoke hearts are a delicious, satisfying snack. They are surprisingly high in both antioxidants and fiber, including inulin, which supports gut health while being low in calories. They come simply grilled or with added spices for flavor and make for a smart snack choice."
Maria's Pick: Monterey Farms ArtiHearts
"Chia seeds provide both fiber and protein, and when soaked as they are in chia pudding, they become infinitely more satisfying. You can easily make your own chia seed pudding, mixing almond or coconut milk with chia seeds, but store-bought versions offer an easy, on-the-go alternative. Top it with fresh fruit for more nutrients and fiber."
Maria's Pick: ChiaPod Vanilla Chia Pudding
"Move over smoothies, the new wave of savory drinkable vegetable soups are a more convenient and lower glycemic option to satisfy your hunger. Packed with nutrients, fiber, and in some cases protein (from bean or lentil varieties), these are a wonderful snack choice. For example, one container of Fawen soup delivers nearly a quarter of your recommended daily fiber intake. Trust me, this will tide you over for hours."
Maria's Pick: Fawen Drinkable Soups
Fruit or Date Rolls
"If it's sweets that you're after, the highly refined cookies and brownies you'd normally reach for ultimately won't satisfy you—they are generally devoid of protein and fiber, and will spike your blood sugar, which will ultimately make you hungry soon after. Instead, eating whole fruit, which has fiber and nutrients, is a better choice. While any fruit will do, date rolls, made simply from dates, coconut, and sometimes nuts will satisfy your sweet tooth in a much healthier way. Dates have only a moderate glycemic load. Pair them with nuts or nut butter to further lower their glycemic impact and make them even more satisfying."
You can find them in the bulk section at Whole Foods, or sometimes pre-packaged in the produce section.
"Made simply from dried coconut pieces (although sometimes you can get them seasoned in various flavors), coconut chips provide healthy fats that support the metabolism. The good thing about real and unrefined foods like coconut chips is that you will probably find them hard to overeat. They are filling and you will stop when you're done, unlike most chips which are easy to overeat."
Maria' s Pick: International Harvest Go Smile Raw Coconut Chips
Seasoned or Sprouted Nuts
"Sprouted nuts are easier to digest and generally slightly more nutritious compared to their roasted and even raw counterparts. Studies show that when you snack on nuts, you typically eat that many calories less later on, so despite being seemingly high in calories and fat, they are associated with weight loss. Seasoned varieties make them more interesting to eat, and spices come with their own benefits (for example, cayenne supports a healthy metabolism). Choose varieties that are dehydrated or dry roasted."