The 4pm Snack Attack: Is It Really So Bad?
Can’t resist that 4pm sugar craving? Here’s why that afternoon snack is actually good for you. Even better, when it’s on the sofa binge watching Bridgerton!
I have a sweet snack every afternoon, sometimes, more than one. It can range from a few squares of chocolate to yoghurt and granola, from a fruity energy bar to a protein-based snack. More often than not, it comes immediately after lunch, because WFH means a 10 second walk to my fridge but occasionally the craving doesn’t hit until 4pm.
In a world full of recipes that are designed to ‘keep you full until dinner’, snacking gets an unfair reputation of being a sign of greed or simply making poor food choices that haven’t nourished you enough.
Small portions have been normalised. If you don’t eat very much for breakfast and lunch, particularly if you’re avoiding a food group, it’s no surprise that your hunger will catch up with you.
We can balance our blood sugars and support energy levels by eating a range of food groups and consistently eating enough throughout the day.
A lot of people just need a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Our cortisol levels have a natural dip in the afternoon, which is why we sometimes get that lull. But afternoons are also pretty long: it’s been a couple of hours since lunch and it’s a couple of hours until dinner. It makes sense that you need something to eat.
It goes without saying that there’s no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. But if you are looking for a snack that is going to make you feel great in the afternoon, here are some recipes for you:
Yoghurt parfait (294 calories, 20g protein, 1g fats, 51g carbs, 5g fibre)
- 170g greek yoghurt
- 35g rice puffs
- 50g raspberry
- 40g blueberries
- 2-3 teaspoons of maple syrup
- Heat the raspberries in the microwave or a pan so that they become like a coulis.
- Scoop yoghurt into a small mason jar or glass
- Layer with the raspberry ‘jam’ and cereal
- Top with blueberries and the maple syrup for additional sweetness
Chocolate Bliss Balls (398 calories, 22g protein, 10g fats, 55g carbs, 7g fibre)
- 20g rolled oats
- 12g peanut butter
- 32g pitted dates
- 20g protein powder
- 15ml maple syrup
- 5g cacao powder
- 1.5 tablespoons water
- Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
- Use your hands to roll mixture into balls.
- Chill ball for at least 30 minutes prior to eating
Peanut butter rice puff slice (164 calories, 3g protein, 10g fats, 16g carbs, 2g fibre)
- 15g rice puffs
- 5g honey
- 5g peanut butter
- 7g coconut oil
- In a medium sized bowl, mix rice puffs, honey, melted coconut oil and peanut butter together.
- Line a small slice tray with parchment paper.
- Pour the mixture into a slice tray and press firmly with a spatula.
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until set, then cut.
3 ingredient cinnamon oat cookies (240 calories, 6g protein, 3g fats, 47g carbs, 6g fibre)
- 80g banana
- 35g rolled oats
- 15g raisins
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, mash the banana using a fork. Add oats, sultanas and cinnamon to bowl and stir until combined.
- Scoop mix into 3 evenly sized portions and roll into balls. Place cookies on a baking sheet and gently press down with your hand to flatten to desired thickness.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and firm around the edges.
Sweet rice cakes (126 calories, 8g protein, 1g fats, 22g carbs, 1g fibre)
- 60g greek yoghurt
- 5g honey
- 40g strawberries
- 16g rice cakes
- In a small bowl, combine yoghurt with honey.
- Spread the yoghurt mixture over rice cakes and top with sliced strawberries
Chocolate peanut butter smoothie (217 calories, 6g protein, 9g fats, 27g carbs, 3g fibre)
- 250ml plant based milk
- 10g peanut butter
- 50g banana
- 5g cacao powder
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth