The key to healthy snacking is choosing wisely. By mid-morning, the energy from breakfast has been used up, hunger is building and the stomach begins to rumble. If you wait until lunch to replenish your energy, chances are you will overeat at your mid-day meal.
Mid-morning cravings and stomach pangs are usually the result of low blood sugar and the best way to avoid that mid-morning low is by planning for and enjoying healthy and simple mid-morning snacks.
Let’s look as some easy-to-prepare, delicious choices:
Fresh fruit is the first and best choice for snacking in the morning. You can either take a piece of fruit whole (in its natural wrapper); or, if you have access to a refrigerator at work, you can prepare fresh fruit snacks before you leave home.
The easiest options next to a piece of fresh fruit are sliced melon (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew), sliced mango or papaya, grapes, fresh berries etc. Wash, peel, slice, hull (prepare as necessary), place in a small container and you are set.
- 1 small apple
- 1 small tangerine
- ½ cup of blueberries
- ½ cup of strawberries
- Slice the apple into bite-sized pieces.
- Peel the tangerine and separate the sections.
- Wash all berries thoroughly and drain.
- Place all of the fruit into a small plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
You can eat the fruit au naturale, without any sugar (which is my preference); or top with plain Greek Yogurt and a little local honey for sweetener – or pack the yogurt and honey in a small cup (on the side for dipping).
Oatmeal is another spectacular mid-morning snack and blood sugar booster. Oatmeal bars and even oatmeal cookies (if they are low in sugar) can be just the pick-me-up that you need to get you through to lunch. Or – try “Oatmeal-to-go” as explained in an earlier post.
If you are really pressed for time, grab a packet of instant oatmeal. Add water and pop it into the microwave for a healthy boost. There is a wide variety of flavors to choose from – maple and brown sugar to peach flavored. These small meals can be a wonderful addition to your diet without adding a lot of fat and calories.
Nuts and Seeds
A handful of raw nuts is the easiest, portable snack I know of (next to an apple, banana, or orange). Put a large handful of nuts into a plastic snack bag and you are ready to go. You can also try a mix of all the nuts you enjoy. As I mentioned in another post Sprouts has the best prices for raw and salted nuts – Trader Joe’s is my 2nd choice.
Salted vs Unsalted
If you prefer salted nuts, try mixing half salted and half raw. It gives you some salt without overdoing it. This also works well with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup raw pecans
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup salted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries
- Combine all nuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruit in a small bowl.
- Mix well and divide into 1/2 cup servings in small snack bags. You have nine days of snacks prepared. All you have to do it grab and go each morning.
This combination of nuts, seeds, and a small amount of dark chocolate chips is perfect for a quick snack in the morning or afternoon. The chocolate chips and dried fruit provide enough sugar to give you a little bit of a quick energy boost; and the nuts offer energy that burns more slowly.
Whole Wheat Toast and Applesauce
You can purchase larger containers of unsweetened pure applesauce (no sugar or additives) or you can buy single-serving sized portions to carry to work with you.
In the morning, toast one slice of whole grain bread and slice it into four strips that are just the right size for dipping.
Whole wheat toast dipped in applesauce is sweet, crunchy and filling, making it one of the best snacks for mid-morning munchies. If you do not like applesauce, you can use yogurt for dipping, as well.
Yogurt and Flax Seeds
- Choose ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt and either flax seed or sunflower seeds.
- Sprinkle the seeds onto the yogurt and add a dollop of local honey and a pinch of cinnamon.
You can either buy small containers or one large container of plain Greek Yogurt that can be divided into small container for each day of the week. All you have to do each day is add the seeds and honey.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and the seeds add both vitamins and nutrients that are important for a busy lifestyle. Flax seeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids that are considered vital for good heart health. They actually contain more of these good fatty acids than fish. As a result for those of you who do not like fish, flax seeds are a great alternative for getting that important nutrient.
Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and antioxidants that are necessary for overall health as well as being great for your skin. Try fresh crisp celery sticks filled with cream cheese or peanut butter, sprinkled with sunflower seeds. YUM!
Tuna Fish Spread
- 1 can plain white tuna in water
- 1 large tablespoon Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
- Dash of lemon Juice
- ½ tsp mustard (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 fresh, crisp celery sticks
- Slice ends from celery sticks and wash well (wrap in damp paper towel and place in crisper in the refrigerator).
- Open tuna and drain well.
- Add mayo, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Mix thoroughly, cover with Saran Wrap and place in refrigerator
- In the morning, spread tuna mixture into the 4 pieces of celery, wrap in foil and pack in a cooler to take to work.
- NOTE: This can also be made with Greek Yogurt if you prefer – try it both ways.
This snack is healthy and nutritious and you can make enough for several days with just one can of tuna. Be sure that the snack is well refrigerated at all times before eating.
Healthy mid-morning snacks are not difficult to make; but, it does take time to plan your snacking options. It is wise to plan your snacks for the entire week (both mid-morning and mid-afternoon). Once you have decided on your snacks, be sure to add the necessary items to your grocery lists.
Having a plan in place and the right foods on hand is the perfect way to avoid snacking on, potato chips, candy, sodas, and cookies during the week.
If your office has a microwave and refrigerator, you definitely have plenty of options for healthy homemade snacks and lunches. If not, it may take a little more work, but it is worth it – and maybe it’s time to start lobbying for the microwave and refrigerator.