If you're anything like us, a looming work deadline means you're 95 per cent likely to finish that family-size bag of popcorn on your desk. But your brain doesn't need a steady stream of empty calories to be productive and alert.
So we asked Dr Jen McDaniel how to quiet that inner Cookie Monster and prevent overeating. First, she says, pick snacks with a combo of nutrients that leave you satisfied and focused without an energy-sapping blood sugar crash—think: fibre-rich carbs plus a bit of fat or protein. As an added bonus, you can pick foods that have proven stress-busting qualities.
Ants on a Log
2 stalks celery + 2 Tbsp almond butter + 1 Tbsp raisins. Energizing carbs and filling fiber, fat, and protein—this snack's got it all.
DIY Energy Bites
½ c chopped dates + ¼ c rolled oats + ½ c nut butter, all mixed together and formed into 12 to 14 bites. The perfect treat, or even on-the-go breakfast, to satisfy a sweet craving while keeping blood sugar stable.
These are comforting and can help calm your jittery digestive tract. Chamomile specifically has been shown to ease anxiety and irritability; while green tea contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which provides a focused calm. (Here'show to brew the perfect cup of tea every single time.)
1 slice whole-wheat toast + 1 Tbsp peanut butter + ½ banana + drizzle of honey. Foods that remind us of childhood are naturally comforting and calming, and this one just happens to be healthy, too.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds
The intense flavor of dark chocolate can help curb cravings, and just 1 oz per day can help reduce stress hormones.
Veggies & Dip
2 sliced carrots or celery stalks + 2 Tbsp guacamole or hummus. If you're a snacker that needs to feel full to be completely satisfied, veggies fill you up without filling you out. Guac or hummus help that full feeling stay with you.
½ cup yogurt + ½ cup blueberries + 1 oz chopped nuts. Dairy packs calcium and protein, both of which help your body release feel-good neurotransmitters.
Opt for seltzer with cucumber slices, or any of these fun fruit- and veggie-infused Sassy Waters (that also help you de-bloat, too!). We often mistake dehydration for hunger, so make your drinks more interesting so you're inclined to sip.
1 oz walnuts + 1 Tbsp dried cranberries or raisins + 1 Tbsp dark chocolate chips. Studies show that regularly snacking on walnuts may help your body respond better to stress.
Chilli Roasted Chickpeas
These makes a great sub for chips—all the satisfying salt and crunch, none of the guilt.