Five healthy snack ideas to beat afternoon sugar cravings

No matter how good your intentions are when it comes to clean eating, it's hard to ignore that 3pm slump. Working in an office environment, late afternoon boredom or tiredness can have us reaching from that off-limits bar of chocolate or slice of cake without even thinking.

The best way to avoid breaking your good habits once a mid-afternoon craving hits is to prepare well and always have a variety of tasty and healthy snacks on hand. Mix it up from day to day so you don't get bored. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

1. Dried mango or apricot
Dried fruits are the perfect craving killer – sweet enough to satisfy your need for sugar, but moreish enough that just a few pieces will do. You can buy small prepackaged bags of dried fruit in most supermarkets, or go for a larger bag and pop a few in a sandwich bag or Tupperware to bring to the office.

2. Nut butters
Almond butter, peanut butter and cashew butter are all filling, high-protein snack options that won't ruin your diet. Spread them on a rice cake, Ryvita or some wholemeal toast and top with banana or sliced grapes for a simple, satisfying treat.

3. Fruit and nut mixes
When it comes to snacking on nuts, almond and pistachios are your best bet as they offer the biggest protein boost per gram. If a handful isn't enough, mix your nuts with some blueberries or raspberries to sweeten things up.

4. Smoothies and shakes
A fruit smoothie or protein shake is an easy make-ahead option that you'll look forward to come the afternoon. Blend whatever mix of fruits you prefer with some ice, yoghurt and a banana, plus a scoop of protein if you wish. 

5. Hummus or guacamole dippers
Sliced carrots, peppers and mange tout are great when teamed with a dip like hummus or homemade guacamole. Simply slice and go.