If you're feeling peckish shortly after lunch, it may be because you're dehydrated.
Ways to fight the afternoon junk-food binge.
Why is it that at 3pm we usually dive for chocolate, chips, biscuits, or any other form of pre-packaged sugar, even when we know it's unhealthy?
According to dietitian Susie Burrell, "About three hours after lunch, most of the food we've eaten will have been digested.
This results in a drop in blood glucose levels, hence the subsequent hunger and sugar cravings,".
So now we know why, Burrell shows us how to curb this junk binge in a healthy way.
If you want to stay fuller for longer, and put a stop to your unhealthy afternoon eating habits, your lunch needs to contain a good mix of protein and low-GI carbohydrates. "This ensures a sustained energy release, as glucose is put slowly and steadily into the bloodstream," says Burrell.
She recommends eating meals that consist of beans and corn, brown-rice sushi, and tuna or salmon wraps. Accompanied by a salad, these choices will have you feeling more satisfied.
If you're prone to the late-afternoon munchies, try dividing your lunch in half. By eating one portion at midday and the other at 3pm, you'll be less inclined to snack. Of course, this fails if your meal is tiny to begin with.
If you're feeling peckish shortly after lunch, it may be because you're dehydrated. Our brains often mistake our thirst for water for our need for food.
Instead of reaching for a KitKat, have some water and wait a few minutes to see if you were actually just thirsty. Or drink a herbal tea. Hot drinks are good at settling hunger pains.
Still hungry? Before you head to the vending machine, stop and aim to find a healthy alternative, like fruit or a nut bar.
Always plan ahead. Bring a range of healthy snacks to work, so you have no excuse!
Burrell says, "These are low-GI and contain a lot of protein. Moderately portioned, healthy snacks will help to boost your metabolism."
• Protein shake
• Nut bar
• Cheese and crackers
• Fruit and nuts
"These are highly processed, high-carb foods that offer little nutritionally. They'll leave you feeling unsatisfied," says Burrell.
• Rice crackers
• Muesli bars
• Low-fat cakes and muffins