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Our favourite snacks to beat that mid-afternoon slump

It’s 4pm and you’re probably coming to the end of your working day, with 5pm lingering just out of site. You’re probably exhausted and lunch already feels like hours ago, however, it’s still too early to be contemplating dinner. This is when most of us finally give into temptation and look for a snack to muffle our rumblings and satisfy our cravings, or even a cup of something hot and caffeinated to stop us from falling asleep at our desks!

Unfortunately, more often than not, this snack happens to be high in sugar, salt or processed fats. That’s why we’ve came up with some of our favourite snacks that can help you beat the mid-afternoon slump, gently balance your blood sugar levels and fight fatigue!

Snack bars

Snack bars have really taken off in recent years, with trailblazing cereal companies like Kellogg’s’ and Alpin each offering their own variations, luring you in with the promise that they are a step above chocolate bars, crisps and sugary biscuits. However, these claims can sometimes fall short and even supposedly ‘healthy’ snacks bars can still be packed full of hidden sugars and sweeteners, making them almost as bad as your average bar of Dairy Milk.

Fortunately, there is an alternative and here at Jan de Vries, we offer a wide range of snack bars that made using only natural ingredients. Squirrel Sisters are one of the more popular brands on our website and their nutty energy bars are a personal favourite of ours, especially their Raspberry Ripple Bar, which is 100% raw and vegan-friendly, only containing a few select ingredients, including cashews, sultanas and goji berries!

And, at just £1.99 per bar, switching to their scrumptious treats won’t mortally wound your bank account either. With flavours ranging from Cacao Brownie to Coconut & Cashew, you’re bound to find something to satisfy your hunger pangs.

Chocolate

The big one – chocolate. So many of us have a real weakness for this particular sweet treat and it’s easy to see why. In fact some experts even believe that our cravings for chocolate could be our body trying to source out more magnesium – a vital mineral for our muscles, joints and mood!

If this is true though, then your body will be disappointed with your snack even if you aren’t. Milk chocolate tends to be low in magnesium and high in refined sugars, which definitely isn’t good news for your waistline. However, in spite of, or perhaps because of our demand for chocolate, there is now a new alternative – cacao.

Cocoa, which is present in most forms of conventional chocolate, actually began its life as cacao but it was then processed and refined, losing most of its original nutrients and goodness. Cacao on the other hand, is not processed or refined and so maintains its high quantities of flavonoids and nutrients, including magnesium!

It’s hardly surprising to find that some proprietors are now making the change and raw cacao bars are more popular than ever! While they tend to have a slightly richer, deeper taste than your usual chocolaty fair, they certainly hit the spot when it comes to soothing your cravings. Ombar are one of our favourite raw chocolate brands and we can’t get enough of all their different flavours, but if we were forced to choose, their Goji Berry Raw Chocolate Bar would definitely win.

Prepared using raw cacao and coconut sugar, a low GI alternative to cane sugar, it’s naturally rich in antioxidants and has a smooth, moreish flavour with a slightly fruity edge.  At £1.99, it’s probably a tad more expensive than your run-of-the-mill Galaxy or Dairy Milk Bar but we would argue that the taste is definitely worth it.

Biscuits

A staple with your mid-afternoon cuppa, biscuits are the traditional go-to when you find your stomach rumbling but with the average milk chocolate digestive packing a surprising amount of sugar, many are starting to turn away from canary creams and Oreo cookies in favour of healthier options. You’re probably more familiar with Rude Health due to their impressive selection of dairy-free milks but they also offer a range of biscuits.

We usually opt for their Organic Oatmeal Biscuits when I’m craving something a bit more savoury. Made using pure Scottish oatmeal these are 100% wheat-free and melt-in-your-mouth good with a rich wholesome flavour. Providing a slow, steady release of energy, one pack should set you back just £1.95.

They’re definitely a great choice, however if you want something sweeter, you might be better going for Nairns Stem Ginger Oat Biscuits. Flavoured with spicy ginger, these sweet biscuits are excellent if you’re a fan of ginger snaps and they also contain crunchy wholegrain oats. High in fibre and containing 40% less sugar than traditional sweet biscuits, they’re an ideal choice if you’re moving on-the-go or if you simply want a partner for your morning cuppa.

Energy balls

Energy balls are starting to rise to the forefront when it comes to healthy snack options – and for good reason! As the name may suggest, they are great for maintaining energy levels which makes them a good option as a post or pre-workout treat. Most energy balls are packed full of protein and fibre, with dates and nuts normally being a staple component.

When it comes to ingredients with energy balls though, less is definitely more in terms of benefits and, if you’re not prepared to make your own, you really need to keep an eagle eye on their ingredients list. That’s why I’m recommending Deliciously Ella. These energy balls are all raw and contain a handful of ingredients without any hidden preservatives or flavourings.

Or, providing you’ve got a blender, you can make your own delicious energy balls within minutes, fuss-free. Our colleague, Ayesha, has even devised her own delicious recipe for Chocolate and Cherry Energy Bites which you can view in the video below.