Knowing what our Clean eating snacks are ahead of time will save you when hunger strikes while you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan or the 21-Day Clean Program.
It’s a few minutes to four o’clock and you feel your energy fading. You start to get irritated. Your mind wanders. The desserts your co-workers brought in are staring you in the face. You're about to get hangry!
This scenario is one version of what we call the late afternoon fade out. The details may vary, but the physical and emotional sensations are the same -- that “grumpy hungry” feeling of irritability, tiredness, and a lack of focus.
This fade out is the hardest time to eat Clean. Our Clean eating snacks are simple, inexpensive, and one of the best ways to keep yourself balanced throughout the day.
Clean Eating Snacks Dilemma: To Snack or Not to Snack
There is nothing inherently wrong with snacking between meals. Snacking can be healthy if you really need more food, but keep in mind that your desire to eat may not be coming from true hunger but from boredom, anger, sadness, or just flat-out dehydration.
Mindless habit snacking tends to numb how we really feel. So before you start grabbing snacks, even Clean eating snacks, check-in with yourself and notice what you’re feeling. A short walk and glass of water can re-energize you and help curb your cravings, too.
If you’re doing the 21-Day Clean Program we recommend that you look even more closely at your snacking habits than usual.
Experiment with Clean Eating Snacks: Portions and Timing
If you notice that you’re regularly hungry at four o’clock and you’ve checked in with your emotional state, then by all means, have one of these Clean eating snacks. You may realize that you need a larger breakfast or lunch, or more frequent meals throughout the day. For example, a Daily Shake for breakfast and light salad for lunch may not be enough food to keep you feeling your best. This is when one of our Clean eating snacks can be very helpful to keep you feeling balanced and calm.
Hangry (a combination of hungry and angry) is “the phenomenon whereby some people get grumpy or short-tempered when they’re overdue for a feed”. If you’re not careful, the hanger can sneak up on you. The key is to eat enough whole Clean foods each day so you feel satisfied.
Plan Your Clean Eating Snacks
Plan your snacks for the week and have them with you when you are away from home. Without deciding ahead of time how we want to respond to hunger or stress, we may end up reacting to the events of our lives in habitual ways that don’t serve us well. This is especially true when it comes to food.
#1 Crackers and Guacamole
Healthy fats mixed with salty carbs can quell the hanger quickly.
Tip: To keep your guacamole from going bad, put the avocado pit in it and cover it with plastic. You’ll find your guac ready to go for the next day.
#2 Veggies and Hummus
Watery plant foods like fruit and veggies work well to balance out the richer hummus. If you’re prone to overeating hummus (as many of us are), focus on eating more fruit or veggies.
Tip: Our Clean Cooking Oil guide talked about the health benefits of reducing certain vegetable oils. Hummus companies often use canola, soy, or vegetable oil. Look for no oil or olive oil-based hummus, or make your own.
#3 Hard-boiled Eggs
If eggs are not a toxic trigger for you and you’re not on the 21-Day Clean Program, hard-boiled eggs can make an excellent Clean eating snack. Eggs are rich in vitamin A, E, D, and B-vitamins, as well as antioxidants and protein. Look for pastured eggs which contain lower amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
Tip: You may have a farm near you that has pastured eggs. Check out the list at Eat Wild.
#4 Fruit and Nuts
A snack of fruit and nuts is a great way to satisfy your sweet teeth. Feel free to have more than one piece of fruit. Try one or two bananas with a pear, orange, or berries. Adding a small handful of nuts will help satisfy and slow the release of sugars from the fruit.
Tip: If you’ve never used macadamia nuts as a snack, give them a try. They are very low in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and taste great.
We love our Daily Shakes at Clean. Not only does a shake make a great breakfast, it also makes a great snack. Shakes made with a nutritional shake mix or protein powder, healthy fats like coconut milk and avocado, and fresh fruit contains all you need to balance blood sugar and feel great.
Be sure to join our growing community to gain inspiration and snack ideas from those who can relate the most.