The Case of the Mid-Day Snack Attack

Recently I’ve noticed that the mid-day meal often gets replaced with several snacks for many people. A busy workday or a day full of classes and studying can make it difficult to sit down and enjoy a full lunch meal because you may be eating at your desk or have limited time. Skipping lunch is a bad idea, so how can you make the most out of your snack choices to replace a single full meal during the daytime, or how can you make the wisest snack choices when lunch isn’t keeping you full until dinner?

Having snacks that provide a mix of protein, carbs, and fats will keep you better satiated than having a snack consisting of just carbs. For me, eating an apple only makes me more hungry for another apple an hour later. I like to eat fruit with a tablespoon or two of almond or cashew butter, which provides satisfying, healthy fat and a little protein as well. Another filling snack idea is whole grain crackers with hummus and a hard-boiled egg. If you’re craving a sweet crunch, try mixing your favorite trail mix with a cup of whole-grain cereal.


Trail mix and whole grain cereal make a great snack that satisfies a crunchy craving.

Here are some other snack ideas (and keep in mind, all it takes is a little tupperware to transport your goodies to your desk or backpack for mid-day munching)

  • For a sweet treat, try 6 oz. low-fat Greek yogurt with 1 cup of whole grain cereal and 2 tbsp. of dark chocolate chips
  • If savory is more your style, prepare garlic kale chips the night before. To prepare, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F, wash, drain, and cut kale into smaller servings. Use a non-stick spray and give both the pan and the kale a light spray. Top with copious garlic powder, and a little salt and pepper. Heat for about 25-35 minutes, flipping the “chips” half way through and adding more garlic powder to the opposite side.  Garlic-y kale chips taste great with roasted, salted almonds, which provide some protein also.
  • You can’t go wrong with a raw veggies and hummus, add an egg or a serving of soy nuts for a great protein fix.


    My snack-meal during a busy day of class.

  • Feeling spicy? Try whole grain or blue corn tortilla chips and pack 2 tbsp. guacamole (or avocado slices) along with 2 tbsp. spicy salsa in a small container. You can even make your own guacamole, and add some protein with it by blending with a little Greek yogurt (if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a big fan of all things Greek yogurt).
  • If you’re on the run and your options are found in a convenience store, look for a healthy protein bar, such as Luna, Clif, or Larabar. (The less ingredients listed on the package, the better). Add a 5 or 6 oz. container of yogurt, typically available at most convenience stores.
  • Once again, if your choices are limited and you find yourself in a place with less than healthy options for snacking, go for a small package of whole grain pretzels or popcorn and mix with trail mix for a crunchy, salty, complete snack.
  • Rice cakes, although they have a bad reputation for being bland, make a good base for a protein fix. I like to top mine with cottage cheese, almond butter, and chocolate chips—although for me, I’ve only had this as a late night study snack, feel free to give it a try if you can transport all the fixings to wherever you may be.


    Rice cakes with cottage cheese, almond butter, and dark chocolate chips. Yum!

These are just some ideas on how to get complete nutrition during a busy day. If you know you don’t usually eat a big meal for lunch, having one or two of these snacks will prevent you from being ravenous by the time dinner rolls around.

Happy Snacking!



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