The energy dip is real. Here's what to do about it, depending on how your day has gone so far.
If You Didn't Eat The Right Lunch...
The ideal midday meal includes protein and fiber, and isn't too high in refined carbs. On days when that just didn't happen, try a late-afternoon do-over, albeit one that won't ruin you for dinner in three hours. Half of a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich can do the trick, since it contains fiber and protein. Bonus points for using whole grain bread, low-sugar jelly and PB made from just two ingredients: peanuts and salt.
If You're Worried You Won't Finish Everything On Your To-Do List...
It all seemed so doable at 10 a.m., and now, six hours later, you're wondering how you'll ever complete every task you set out to accomplish. As anxiety creeps in, may we suggest...chocolate? And if it's the dark stuff, covering almonds, even better. The chocolate may help you feel less stressed out, and the almonds are one of the most satisfying snacks you can eat.
If You Are Wondering What That Sound Is...
When you've had an early, or light, lunch and it later sounds like there's a lion growling in your belly, there's a good chance the noise translates to "feed me." Scientists say your best bet is a less energy-dense, high-protein snack like yogurt, which improves appetite control and satiety, and reduces the amount of food you're likely to eat later (just watch the added sugars in low-fat, flavored yogurts). Cottage cheese is another option; it has loads of protein and can be low in fat (look for the two-percent version).
If You Booked A Bike At A 6:30 p.m. Spin Class...
The right pre-exercise snack will give you the energy to attack those hills, to digest easily (so you can avoid cramps) and will not fill you up so much that you don't want to eat a healthy dinner when class is over. Half an energy bar (just not high-fiber, which may cause a detour to the bathroom; and again, check the label for added sugars before you take a bite), one banana, one cup of applesauce or a few chocolate-covered pretzels (the small amount of caffeine and sugar will give you a boost) are ideal foods to keep in your gym bag.
New Healthy Snacks Every Busy Woman Should Keep at Her Desk
The Handful of Sweet, Spiced Goodness
We know that nuts are an ideal between-meal food, <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Vegetarian-Protein-Sources" target="_blank">packed with protein as well as healthy monosaturated fat and fiber</a>, but it's easy to overdo it (a serving size is a modest 1 ounce). If you roast your own, though, you can season to the hilt, so it only takes a small amount to make you feel satisfied. This easy recipe for curry and lime cashews from chef Marco Canora's <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Good-Food-Day-Reboot-Health/dp/0385344910?tag=thehuffingtop-20" target="_blank">A Good Food Day</a></em> takes about five minutes to prepare and bursts with Southeast Asian flavor.
Get the recipe: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Curry-and-Lime-Cashews-Recipe" target="_blank">Curry and Lime Cashews</a>