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10 Healthy Snacks That Fight the Afternoon Slump

Topics: Work Culture

The clock is ticking, but it’s still hours until you go home. You’re getting sleepy … sleeeeeeepy. WAKE UP!

Instead of adding another cup of coffee or a mess of sugar to your day — and risking a crash later on — try a healthy snack to perk yourself up. Bonus: it won’t leave you feeling guilty afterwards, either.

1. Water

Yep, the first idea is the most boring. You need a drink of water.

Even mild dehydration can make you feel like your brain is in a fog, because your body doesn’t have enough water to carry out normal functions,” points out Rebecca Straus in Woman’s Health.

Want a little flavor? Try infusing water bottles where you can get a hint of herbs, fruits, or just your favorite flavors with every sip.

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2. Oatmeal

It’s not just for breakfast anymore! Simple oatmeal (without all the added sugars) can be a feast for not only your mouth but also your sense of smell. Try adding a handful of walnuts, a dash of maple syrup (not a river) and cinnamon to your whole-grain treat, or top it with some seasonal fruit slices or berries. You can even make one serving in a flash in a mug in the office microwave!

3. Nuts

Speaking of walnuts, they’re a great treat on their own. Packed with healthy fats, they also have the highest amount of antioxidants of any nut. Just don’t go full chipmunk and pack yourself full of them. (A healthy serving is about 14 walnut halves.) You’ll have a tasty, crunchy treat to get you through until the end of the day. Choose your favorite, from almonds (they’ve got zinc!) to peanuts (watch out for sugar in your peanut butter, though).

healthy snacks

4. Eggs

Have an egg! Even though it’s afternoon, try a hard-boiled egg for convenience at the office. Great on their own, you can try a sprinkle of sea salt, a smidgen of pepper, or even a dash of something spicy like your favorite hot sauce to wake up the senses while you get a blast of protein, too.

5. Mint

While you can infuse that water with some peppermint leaves, you can also enjoy a hot mug of mint tea in the afternoon for a warming boost. Be careful of blends that have added sugar (read the label!) or simply use some mint from a fresh plant. Mint is easy to grow and you could add a sprig to an after-work mojito, too.

6. Chia

Don’t go nibbling that Chia Pet. You can get a real boost from a little Pinterest-worthy chia pudding, adding chia to some yogurt or a smoothie, sprinkling seeds on some fruit, or enjoy any number of chia vehicles available these days.

Chia seeds are touted by some long-distance runners as the “magic” ingredient discovered by a visit to the Tarahumara, a Native American tribe in northwestern Mexico. They help some endurance athletes find reserve fuel when they thought they were tapped.

7. Salad

Yep, a simple little bowl of greens and veggies can be your get-up-and-go secret this afternoon.

Without drowning it in a sea of ranch dressing, try a few leafy bits of spinach (packed with fiber and antioxidants), some carrots (linked to improved eye health) and maybe a few berries (blueberries pack in vitamins along with few calories or sugar).

healthy snacks

8. Dark Chocolate

OK, OK, you can have some chocolate. But keep it dark (we don’t mean eating a candy bar in the janitor’s closet, either). Per Healthline, dark chocolate may improve brain function while also boosting heart health.

The caveat: you have to keep the percentage of cocoa in the 70-80 percent range. That’s pretty bitter for a common sweet tooth. Try chasing a bite of chocolate with a contrasting taste, like a slice of mandarin orange or a nibble of a dried apricot. Your mouth will thank you!

9. Popcorn

Without the fixins like heavy oils, cheese, or lots of butter, popcorn is itself a treat full of crunch and low in calories.

Avoid the pre-packaged popcorn microwave bags (they have had some problems), and don’t fill your office with the stench of burnt kernels. Try air popping and adding some low-cal and low-sodium sprinkles of tamari soy sauce for some umami without the guilt.

healthy snacks

10. Hummus

Yup, grab one of the above treats, like carrots, veggies, or even an apple slice and grab some hummus for a tasty treat in the afternoon that won’t slow you down. Made from chickpeas and sesame seed paste (tahini), if you’re not eating hummus already, you aren’t living. (Unless you have an allergy, in which you can try out some alternative hummus recipes — with your doctor’s approval, of course).

So don’t go snooze! Go nom nom nom and try some of these snacks for your next afternoon pick-me-up.

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What is your favorite afternoon work snack? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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