I keep snacking. All. the. time. That was probably the most consistent piece of feedback I kept getting during those early months of lock down. People that were used to the office environment were no working and sitting ten feet from their fridge. It was taking a toll on their waistline.
As a work from home, pre-COVID veteran, I had faced this battle myself and (mostly) conquered it years ago. The plan of attack is simple. Have a solid list of low effort snacks (sweet, savory, smooth, creamy) in the house and ready to go for that afternoon sugar dip.
These are my 10 favorite low effort afternoon snacks to stave off the munchies during that 3 p.m. conference call.
I don’t need to explain fruit, you have your favorites. Have it on hand. My preference is for apples, bananas, and grapes. I don’t want to spend ten minutes cutting up a watermelon or even two minutes peeling an orange. Just wash and go!
Again, no real explanation necessary. I’m mostly in favor in prepping sticks or florets yourself, but if you know yourself better and want to pay the convenience fee, having the pre-cut/pre-prepped veggies might be worth it. Given how much of veggies is water-based, not a bad idea to have a dip to go along with it but skip the oil-heavy dressings and find something with protein in it that will sate your hunger longer like Greek yogurt or hummus.
Eggs or Edamame
Edamame microwaved steamed in their shells make a great and filling snack with some sea salt. Or throw in a couple eggs to hard boil in the morning for a protein-filled, whole food snack in the afternoon.
These will not fill you up as they are mostly water but they can serve an important purpose in your snack arsenal. Pickles are salty and crunchy and they can trick your brain and help you avoid an afternoon meltdown binging on empty chip calories.
Rice cake with nut butter
I prefer brown or multigrain rice cakes to the white rice cakes. I want the most bang for my snack buck in filling me up. I also prefer plain or lightly salted so I can add a tablespoon or so of nut butter on top add protein and make it more filling.
Microwave or air-popped is the most nutritious and will help you avoid the extra calories (and sometimes weird chemicals) in the pre-bagged versions. We purchased this simple microwave popper a few years ago and love it. Avoids extra oil and dead simple to use. The trick with popcorn is finding a bold flavoring you like to sprinkle on afterward. I like Trader Joe’s chili lime salt with nutritional yeast.
Whole wheat tortillas make a great palette for a nutritious afternoon snack. You can go hot or cold, savory or sweet. Two favorites are nut butter and banana roll ups or a simple cheese quesadilla with guacamole. Even with the cook time, both are quick, easy, and filling.
Crispy chickpeas or edamame
This is my favorite thing to make in the air fryer but you can also do these in the oven. Drain and rinse chickpeas (or thaw frozen edamame) toss with a light coating of oil and salt and any other spice/topping of your choice (garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, Parmesan cheese) then just bake or air fry for about 20 minutes until desired crispiness.
If you crave something sweet but want to keep it healthy, consider the magic of chia pudding. This, like the hard boiled eggs requires a little forethought and is best made at least 2 hours in advance. You can adjust the amount of chia seeds based on the texture and consistency you prefer.
I like it thicker and use 2T of seeds, 1/2 cup of milk (your choice, any will work, I like soy for extra protein), 1 teaspoon sweetener (I like honey). Mix in a glass or jar until there are no clumps and then stick in the fridge. When you’re ready to snack, add the toppings and enjoy. I like to add frozen or fresh fruit, a dollop of nut butter or Nutella, chopped nuts, or cocoa powder.
Finally, a quick no-bake recipe that’s endless adaptable, nutritious, filling, and fun for kids to make if you have those hanging around the house. Dump all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until combine, roll into small balls, and stick in the fridge for an hour to firm up. Makes about a dozen.
Our favorite is the chocolate chip: 1/2 c rolled oats, 1/2 c nut butter, 1 T honey, 1 T chia seeds, 1/4 c mini chocolate chips.
That’s it. Those are my top 10 favorite, low effort, no effort afternoon snacks to avoid a sugar crash or a cookie binge that I know I will regret later.