You've been there. I've been there. That afternoon craving can hit like clockwork. You don't even have to look at your phone to see what time it is. You know it's 3 o'clock just by how your thoughts seem to be consumed by your favourite sweet or salty snack.
All you can think about is grabbing that speciality coffee from your go-to spot. I mean it's been a long day after all. And you totally deserve a treat after that crazy meeting you just had. I would tell myself this ALL the time.
How do you jump off the cycle of the daily mid-afternoon craving? How do you not to fall victim to that 3pm crash yet again?
I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. There's nothing wrong with you. Or your willpower. Today, I have for you 6 easy ways to beat mid-afternoon cravings. We'll address what may be a contributing factor for you and help you get those blood sugar levels back into balance. Imbalanced blood sugar levels are often what leave us craving that sweet or salty treat.
Having balanced blood sugar levels means you get to choose when to have a mid-afternoon snack and not feel like you're a victim to something that's seemingly uncontrollable.
Here we go:
- Break the Fast. Seriously. Eat breakfast. Your grandma wasn't lying when she said that this is the most important meal of the day. You're basically breaking a fast since your last meal the night before. Now breakfast doesn't have to be something large and heavy. It'll look different for everyone. Maybe a piece of fruit and a few nuts are best for you, with something more substantial an hour or so later. Eating breakfast sets the tone for your metabolism and how your body will process food throughout the rest of the day. It's also going to help you stay alert and be more productive.
- Quality over quantity. When we crave, it's for nutrients our body needs to keep us in fine form. So though it may be easy to quickly grab that sweet or salty treat, neither will leave you satisfied, at least not for very long. Why? Your body's still missing whatever nutrient is behind the real craving. The more whole, unrefined, unprocessed foods you get in every single day, the more nutrients you take in, leaving you with less cravings.
- Find balance. With every meal + snack. Here's my recipe to set you up for success. Repeat after me: quality protein + fat + fibre. Every. Single. Day. Quality being the golden nugget here. Make it a habit to have a quality source of protein, fat and fibre for every meal and snack. You'll notice your cravings decrease substantially. These three are key to keeping blood sugar levels balanced. Decreasing those midday crashes where you're left looking for a quick fix.
- Drink water. I know everyone's favourite thing to do, right?! Our first sign of thirst shows up as a hunger pain. It's when we've reached the point of dehydration that we begin to feel thirsty. Have a glass of water and wait it out for a few minutes. Is your craving just as strong? You might notice that's it's calmed down a bit.
- Plan ahead. Does your craving hit you like a brick wall at a certain time every day? Plan ahead and address that craving before it hits. Have a snack an hour or so before your expected 3pm crash. Using the golden nugget recipe, (quality protein + fat + fibre) choose a balanced snack. Do this and 3pm will come and go without you feeling hangry, sluggish or foggy.
- Be aware. Let's be honest. Maybe you're bored. Maybe you're pissed. You just got out of a meeting where your boss made you feel small in front of every single one of your colleagues. You just got a text from your spouse, mother, sister, friend, (insert your person here) that's annoying you like nobody's business. Or, maybe you found out you didn't get that gig you applied for.
Whatever the case may be, sometimes our cravings are tied to something emotional. Your boss humiliates you in a meeting and all you can think of is how a caramel macchiato will make you feel better. (Maybe that was just me) ;) You just had an argument with your person and suddenly you want chocolate. Or chips. Or ice cream.
Take a minute to ask yourself if you're truly hungry or if you're trying to numb out the icky feeling inside. Maybe you just need a hug.
Go for a walk. Some fresh air and a bit of perspective can do wonders.
Okay, I hear what you're saying. You want examples of balanced snacks. Here's some of my quick + easy favourites:
- Nuts and fresh fruit (cashew butter, sliced pear, with a sprinkle of salt is heaven)
- Hummus, chopped veggies and nori sheets. Unusual combo but it. is. goood.
- Guacamole, chopped peppers or tomatoes with seed crackers
- Chocolate hazelnut spread on whole grain toast with fresh fruit
Now, I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favourite snacks to beat mid-afternoon cravings? Share with me in the comments below.