5 Afternoon Snacks That Won’t Mess Up Your Diet

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Nothing slows you down during your workday like those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. Don’t ignore your grumbling tummy—your body is telling you to eat. Rather than scrambling for coins for the vending machine, plan ahead and pack your snacks. You have plenty of options to power you through the rest of your day, without messing up your diet.

5 Nuts

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Nuts tend to have a bad reputation for their high calorie content, but snacking on a moderately sized portion while striving to survive your last few hours of work won’t be devastating to your diet. You’ll get fiber, protein and a slew of heart-healthy fats to slow down digestion and give you just enough energy to help you make it through. One ounce of almonds, which is 24 nuts; an ounce of pistachios, or 47 nuts; or an ounce of peanuts, which is 28 nuts, each offer approximately 165 calories. Just make sure you opt for dry roasted and unsalted varieties to keep your calories, as well as your sodium intake, to a minimum.

4 Cottage Cheese

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Cottage cheese can be a savory afternoon snack when it’s plain, or a sweet treat when you mix in a few ingredients, depending on your mood. Nonfat cottage cheese contains less than 125 calories per cup. Pile on a half cup of blueberries, 1 teaspoon of honey and a smidgen of cinnamon for approximately 65 more calories. Not only will you get lots of protein and fiber to improve satiety, you’ll also get a big chunk of your calcium requirement for strong bones.

3 Apples and Peanut Butter

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While an apple a day is often rumored to keep the doctor away, you could still feel painfully hungry after snacking on one. Slice up that apple and dip the wedges in peanut butter. You just have to portion out your serving ahead of time so you don’t eat the whole jar and go overboard on calories. Combining the protein power of peanut butter with the high fiber content of apples will surely kick those hunger pangs to the curb. You can have an entire large 4.75-ounce apple for about 70 calories. Add on a schmear of peanut butter for roughly 95 calories per tablespoon.

2 Hummus and Veggies

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Instead of force feeding yourself a bag of raw plain veggies to keep your diet on target, pack a couple spoonfuls of hummus to go along with them. Hummus is full of protein and heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats, or MUFAs and PUFAs, which rest in your belly for a while as your digestive tract works hard to break them down. You’ll feel surprisingly full until it’s time to sit down for dinner. Two tablespoons of hummus contain a minimal 50 calories, while celery sticks, baby carrots and cucumber slices each have around 5 calories a pop.

1 Popcorn

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You might be surprised to find that plain air-popped popcorn is a whole grain. It’s packed with fiber to keep you full until dinner, and only has around 30 calories per cup. Popcorn doesn’t have to be unflavored and boring, either. Spray it with a few squirts of butter flavor spray—which has 0 calories per serving—and top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, if you have a sweet tooth, or a dash of ground chili pepper and garlic powder, if you prefer a savory approach.

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