Do you find you are looking for something to pep you up to get through the day? Is the diet coke / coffee and chocolate afternoon snack more than the occasional go-to food?
I was talking fatigue and craving-busting strategies with my gorgeous friend Leah who is a mum to 2 active boys (3yo & 18months), a professional singer with a busy performing schedule and a part-time student. Leah was asking me for snack ideas that were portable, affordable, healthy and most important of all helped her juggle all her daily balls…. challenge accepted.
Super Fast Grab ‘n Go
Here are my favourite grab ‘n go fatigue busting snacks. I call them grab ‘n go because there is no cooking and very little preparation so if you are like my friend Leah and need to pack a whole lot of activity into your day before you race out the front door throw some of these in your bag and go:
Banana & 10 walnut halves. Natures snack food, perfectly portable.
Whole carrot stick (chopped in half or quarters if you are feeling fancy) used to scoop out your preferred nut butter.
Slice up an apple and smear a little of that left-over nut butter on your slices – yum!
Tin of sustainably fished salmon or tuna emptied into a crisp lettuce leaf and throw in a chopped tomato if you have time and a knife. Choose Cos or Iceberg lettuce for the best result. Wrap the fish and tomato up like a parcel in a couple of leaves and munch away. Best served with many napkins to catch runaway dribbles.
Celery boats. Take a celery stick and get into the groove pressing as much soft cheese as it will hold when tightly packed. Try salty goats cheese or creamy cottage cheese and sprinkle with a touch of paprika for smokiness or turmeric for Indian flavour.
When You Are Set Up For Success
If I know I have a busy week I make a couple of different meals at the same time either the night before or on the weekend:
Oven-roasted chicken drumstick eaten cold dipped in tomato salsa (I’ll usually roast a whole chicken and then use it throughout the week in a number of meals more on this money saving idea in a later post).
Leftover chicken meat shredded and stuffed into ½ an avocado.
Hard-boiled eggs are fantastic, portable, power-packs of protein and followed with a whole cucumber eaten like an apple raw and crunchy.
And my personal go-to-snack that I always have a container of in my fridge… turkey meatballs. I pair a turkey meatball with a crisp lettuce leaf and a generous dollop of avocado for savory goodness or with a slice of strawberry or a blueberry for tart sweetness.
• 500 grams (1 pound) of turkey mince
• 1/2 teaspoon ground/minced/grated ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground sage
• Season with salt and pepper to taste I use 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 pepper
• Coconut oil to cook with
In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, ginger, salt, sage and black pepper until well blended – I use my hands. Form the minced meat into balls or flat patties. Should make 10 small serves or 5 very large serves.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil. Add patties and brown on both sides turning until cooked through. Break open one and check it is no longer pink in the middle because no one needs to be spending their time off work being sick. Based on a receipe originally found on Brenda Watson Allergy Free Site.
If you want to check to see if your snacks measure up here’s what needs to go into them:
• Ingredient #1 = Protein
Protein improves appetite control so you don’t keep going back for more snacks until dinner-time rolls around. Protein also seems to modulate food hedonics, that is, cravings knocked-on-the-head (1).
• Ingredient #2 = Carbohydrate
Complex carbohydrates that give you sustained energy are the best choice to pair with your protein base.
Emergency Help For Chocoholics
If you find that you just cannot stop eating chocolate or sweets once you start have you tried short-circuiting the urge with the herb Gymnema sylvestre (say gym – neema)?
Its unusual name is derived from a Hindu word “Gurmar” meaning “destroyer of sugar” and it is typically used with overweight/obese people to prevent sugar cravings and in traditional cultures with the symptoms of diabetes (2).
What I love about Gymnema is when you put a drop of it on your tongue whatever you eat afterwards does not taste sweet and it becomes pretty unpalatable and easy to stop. It is thought the peptide molecule gurmarin blocks the ability to taste sweet flavours and reduces sweet cravings (2). Gymnema is useful in an emergency when your willpower is failing and somehow you have found your hand lodged in the sweets jar or your mouth overflowing with chocolate.
Before I sign-off and munch on a carrot stick with almond butter I want to share with you that in a 2014 study on overweight/obese teenage girls they found that those who had a protein rich breakfast had far less food cravings for the rest of the day (1). If you are grabbing for a regular afternoon snack it may be related to what you ate for breakfast. Something to think about and explore.
I’d love to hear your favourite energy-boosting, craving-busting snack!
1. Hoertel, H. A., Will, M. J., & Leidy, H. J. (2014). A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese “breakfast skipping”, late-adolescent girls. Nutrition Journal, 13(1), 80.
2. Saneja, A., Sharma, C., Aneja, K. R., & Pahwa, R. (2010). Gymnema sylvestre (Gurmar): A review. Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2(1), 275-284.