Ever feel like you just need something salty or sweet in the afternoon? You’re not alone: A recent British survey found that people are most likely to stray from their healthy eating plans at around 4:12 p.m.
For the study, a British research group called OnePoll surveyed 1,000 men and woman about their diet habits. The results: 45 percent of them said that afternoon snacking was the main way in which they’d broken their New Year’s diet resolutions. And when the researchers asked the participants to select a specific time between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. that was their ultimate downfall, the average time chosen was 4:12 p.m.
“That makes sense,” says Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D., author of The Portion Teller Plan. “The afternoon is when your blood-sugar levels may drop because it’s been a while since you’ve eaten.”
Luckily, there are two ways to curb your snack-attack cravings. First, you can eat a light 150-200 calorie snack anywhere from 3-4 p.m. so you’re not starving when the dieting witching hour strikes. Young recommends one that has both fiber and protein (like apple slices and peanut butter or a cup of veggie soup) because that combo keeps you fuller for longer.
The other option? Consider exercising after work. “When you know you’re about to do something positive, like getting on the treadmill after work, you may find it easier to stick to that mindset earlier and resist the chips,” says Young. Even if it’s just a quick workout, it can still help you resist the temptation to hit the vending machine.
*This story was originally published on WomensHealth.com.
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