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The #1 Best Snack to Eat, According to a Dietitian

Falling into an afternoon slump? Reach for this!
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

We all know that feeling that sinks in by mid-afternoon. You suddenly feel tired, hungry, and sluggish. You still have a couple of hours left at work, but you are starting to crash. You might even grab a coffee or a sweet treat to push through, maybe even a snack. Mid-afternoon tends to be prime snack time for many of us. Your energy from lunch is waning, and you know that you still have a few hours until dinner. So, what is the best snack to eat to keep you going?

Have you ever thought about why so many of us feel crummy by 3 pm? If you find yourself regularly reaching for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, you likely are dealing with a post-lunch blood sugar issue. 

Regulating blood sugar is like working with Goldilocks. You don't want it to go too high or too low, but you want to get it just right. Blood sugar impacts our appetite cues: hunger, energy, and cravings. Thus, fluctuations in blood sugar spike hunger, zap energy, and dictate cravings…all at once. Ah-ha, now that 3 pm crash makes more sense!

To keep our blood sugar stable and subsequently prevent the afternoon crash, you'll want to seek out a snack that is high in protein and fiber. Protein and fiber take longer to digest than only carbohydrates. By hanging around in your stomach longer, you'll feel full for hours with stable energy between meals. (Related: 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make)

To find snacks that are high in protein and fiber, you'll want to pay attention to the label. I recommend shooting for 10 grams of protein per serving and at least 3 grams of fiber.

The best high-fiber and protein snacks to eat

If you are someone who commutes to work and needs a small pick-me-up before you get home for dinner, you might start with something small like a Chomps jerky stick or a palm-full of nuts. This option works best if you don't want to feel starving by the time you walk in the door or want to decrease cravings from dinnertime to bedtime.

If you are hitting the gym after work, you will need to add a carb to your protein and/or fiber choice! Carbs give us a quick energy boost, but the protein and fiber are key to slowing down the rate of absorption—ultimately keeping your energy stable throughout your workout. Munk Pack, a high-fiber protein cookie, offers a great all-in-one energy source!

If you want something sweet that satisfies, and doesn't leave you feeling zapped for energy, a high-quality Greek yogurt is your friend! Packed with protein and lightly sweetened, I love Siggi's Icelandic yogurt. The consistency is oh-so-creamy with half the sugar of other supermarket yogurt brands. Pair with berries for a fiber boost!

If you want the scoop on other snacks that will crush your cravings, check out these 12 Best Snacks That Crush Hunger Cravings.

Caroline Thomason, RDN
Caroline is a women's health Registered Dietitian and diabetes educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more about Caroline