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Managing the late afternoon munchies

Managing the late afternoon munchies

When you walk in the door from work, do you start snacking and feel like you can’t stop? Here are some ideas that can help…

Sometimes after a long day at work or when you have been out and about doing things, by the time you get home you suddenly realise just how hungry you are and feel like you could literally eat anything and everything in sight. Making good food choices at times like this can be near impossible – so here is what you need to do to manage these solutions.


If this regularly happens to you, change your eating routine slightly. Try having a lighter lunch followed by a decent, filling afternoon tea so that when you do get home you are not out-of-control starving and unable to make a good choice about what you put in your mouth.

Filling afternoon tea snacks include things like a small bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, fruit and low-fat yoghurt or hummus/tuna and wholegrain crackers. I am also a big fan of taking a small portion of bircher muesli or overnight oats and a low-fat yoghurt if I need something substantial in the afternoon – check out a great recipe idea here. If you make the bircher/overnight oats in a small plastic container and pack it along with a small tub of low-fat yoghurt in a small chiller bag, you can take it anywhere with you.

If you know you are going to be out and about or super busy at work all afternoon, make like a Girl Guide – be prepared! When you leave the house in the morning grab a banana, make an extra one slice of bread sandwich, or take some nuts and seeds for the afternoon with you. Here are some great snacking combos.

If, for whatever reason, you have biscuits and high-fat/sugar foods in the house – keep them in NON-transparent containers, at the back of the cupboard or pantry so they are not the first thing you see when you open the doors.

If cheese and crackers are your vice when you get home from work – you NEED to read this.

Have some chopped veges like carrots, celery and capsicum prepped and ready to go right at the front of your fridge. Then, when you walk in from your busy day and open the fridge, these are the only things you see. As well as these standard snacking vegetables, you can also try munching on snow peas, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms if you like them raw (I love them these days). The best thing to do is to prep these veges and put them into a container while you are prepping any vegetables for your dinner the night before. If you get into the habit of doing this, it will then become a normal part of your day.

In winter have a batch of vege soup in the fridge at all times. You can then head for a cup of that when you walk in to fill you up and warm you up at the same time. The bonus is, of course, more vege serves and not too many extra kJs. Here is a great soup recipe.

Have a LARGE glass of water and/or put on the kettle and make yourself a green or peppermint tea before you think about have something to eat – check that you aren’t actually thirsty rather than hungry.

Love, Claire x

Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionist. Managing director of Mission Nutrition, and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist.

First published: Apr 2014
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