Mid-afternoon rolls around and nearly all of us are reaching for a little something to tie us over until dinner. Let’s face it. The apple that’s been in your bag for the last week isn’t going to cut it.
Ensuring that not only your main meals but your snacks are macronutrient balanced will transform your hunger cravings. By adding protein - even in snacks – this will prolong the suppression of our hunger hormone, ghrelin, longer than consuming carbohydrates alone or only with fats.
Hunger cues are often demonised by diet culture, but they are much more complex than just your stomach being empty. Your food intake is impacted by gut-brain signalling through the vagus nerve. This nerve sends signals of being full, satiated or hungry to the brain alongside the secretion of hormones, ghrelin, and energy levels. Hunger cues can also be unrelated to feelings in the stomach itself like physical weakness, irritability, loss of concentration and impatience – also known as being hangry.
Balancing energy levels also comes down to balancing blood sugar. When carbohydrates are eaten in combination with proteins this slows down the digestion and release of glucose into the blood stream, known as the glycaemic response. The slower the glycaemic response, the more stable your blood sugar will be!
Below are some killer snack recipes that are quick, easy to grab on the go and most importantly keep your energy up.
Mango Chia and Coconut Protein Bites (Makes ~10)
1 cheek of mango, mashed or blended a bit
3 Tbsp oat flour (or almond meal)
2 Tbsp vanilla protein powder
2 scoops Active Collagen
2 Tbsp desiccated coconut
Tbsp chia seeds
Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp nut butter of choice
Mix. Roll into balls. Refrigerate.
Chia Berry Jam
2 cups frozen or fresh berries of choice (cut strawberries into quarters)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 scoops Active Collagen
Heat berries in a small pot over low heat.
Mash into jam consistency once warm.
Take off the heat and stir through chia and collagen.
Set aside to cool and store in a jar.
A favourite way to eat this jam is on rice cakes with nut butter or tahini.
‘Whatever You’ve Got’ Smoothie
Pick a protein: Greek yoghurt, Active Collagen, organic whole milk, protein powder
Pick a carb: frozen berries, mango, banana, dates, honey, oats
Pick a fat: coconut milk/cream, nut butter, coconut oil, avocado
+ any other ingredients you fancy or have on hand
A favourite: organic whole milk, Active Collagen, frozen banana, 1 date, scoop chocolate protein, chia seeds and cacao powder.
Nguo, K., Bonham, M. P., Truby, H., Barber, E., Brown, J., & Huggins, C. E. (2019). Effect of Macronutrient Composition on Appetite Hormone Responses in Adolescents with Obesity. Nutrients, 11(2), 340. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020340
Amin, T., & Mercer, J. G. (2016). Hunger and Satiety Mechanisms and Their Potential Exploitation in the Regulation of Food Intake. Current obesity reports, 5(1), 106–112. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-015-0184-5
Ciampolini, M., Lovell-Smith, H. D., Kenealy, T., & Bianchi, R. (2013). Hunger can be taught: Hunger Recognition regulates eating and improves energy balance. International journal of general medicine, 6, 465–478. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S40655
Basturk, B., Koc Ozerson, Z., & Yuksel, A. (2021). Evaluation of the Effect of Macronutrients Combination on Blood Sugar Levels in Healthy Individuals. Iranian journal of public health, 50(2), 280–287. https://doi.org/10.18502/ijph.v50i2.5340