10 Sugar-Free, High-Protein Snacks for Your Afternoon Slump


Snack Smart, not sweet, my dear friends!

Vata time is 2- 6 pm. What does that mean? And no, it has nothing to do with Hammer time!

Between 2 – 6 pm, we enter visionary Vata time, according to Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system stemming from India more than 5,000  years ago. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda means “knowledge of life.”

This Vata time is a time for creativity, lightness, and movement. Your nervous system is the  most active then and it’s the best time of the day to get your creative tasks done.


At the same time, it’s often when you feel exhausted and reach for an afternoon somethin’ somethin’ to pick you up. It’s usually that latte or a sugary snack. But this will only have you crash and burn so let’s talk about alternative ways to stay grounded.

Since vata means “air”, the coffee and sugar aren’t going to help you stay alert. You most likely get jittery and “in your head” which is the opposite of what you need.

One of the main causes of why you want to inhale your right arm every afternoon is your lunch.

Skipping lunch or consuming a lunch without a good protein and a good fat makes you more likely to crave the sweet stuff to ground you.

In addition to protein and fat, adding grounding sweet veggies is the best idea to get something naturally sweet into your body.

Grounding foods are abundant for fall! Which is perfect for what we need!

Butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes!

You can make this quickie Butternut Squash Chili which is packed with protein as well as easy to make (and freeze for lunch left-overs!). This tasty dish is a signature Eat Clean 21FIT recipe!


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove,  minced

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 cups butternut squash, cubed

3 cups veggie broth

1 28 oz. can Fire Roasted Whole Tomatoes, diced or broken up, with juice

2 14 oz. cans black beans, rinsed, drained

1 14 oz. can white Northern beans, rinsed and drained

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 large fresh lime- for juice and garnish 


To assemble in a slow cooker: Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of the cooker; add the garlic and spices and stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients except the lime juice. Gently stir with  spoon (you don’t want to mash the beans) to mix. Cover and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for slow cooking a chili with canned (not dried beans).

I cooked mine on low for five to six hours, for example. Oh and you can use a dollop of  vegan sour cream!

Need more lunch ideas?

Try these quickies:

Vegan and Gluten-Free Minestrone

Zesty Quinoa Soup

Spicy Soup with Leeks

Chickpea Chopped Salad

Now that you have substantial lunches, let’s take a look at  your snack choices.

Sugary, carby things like muffins, brownies, candy from the vending machine will only make you feel flighty as well as wreck havoc on your digestive system and nerves.

When you design your snacks, follow this formula for a well-balanced nutritious snack:

Healthy Carb (fruit or veggie) + Healthy Protein (nuts, seeds, quinoa…) + Healthy Fat (avocado, coconut…) = A damn AWESOME snack!

Here are my 10 top picks for healthy, protein-packed, gluten-free and plant-based snacks (oh, these are super-quick and easy to make) AND sugar-free!>>>

Tip: Batch the recipes so you can keep the snacks in containers and pull out when you need to them. Most are portable especially if you have to travel for work and spend most of your time in the car.

  1. Spa Muesli:  In a mason jar, combine unsweetened original almond yogurt (I’m crushing hard on the Kite brand!),  gluten-free rolled oats, berries, bananas, nuts, seeds, and flax. I typically use Bob’s Red Mill for the gf oats, chopped walnuts and sliced almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
  2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots with Quinoa
  3. BOSS Green Smoothie
  4. Homemade Granola Bars
  5. Banana Oat GF Muffins
  6. Power Balls
  7. Spicy Chickpea Bites

Mix the chickpeas (1 14 oz. can, rinse and drain) with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, lime juice, chili pepper,  cumin, paprika and bake for 3-40 minutes (350 degrees F).  I like mine extra crunchy so I go for 40 minutes.

8. Leftover quinoa drizzled with cinnamon; add coconut milk and bananas, heat and enjoy warm oatmeal-like porridge.

Coconut Berry Quinoa

½ cup cooked quinoa (make ahead of time according to package directions)
½ cup strawberries
¼ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve warm.

Serves 1

9. Crunchy veggie sticks ( cucumber, celery, pepper, etc) and dips (hummus, white bean dip, spinach dip etc…)

White Bean Dip Recipe

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ onion, diced (1/4 cup)
1 15 oz. can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
Sea salt to taste

In a food processor, blend all ingredients together. Add water as needed to create smooth consistency. Try 1/8 cup of water to start. Season with salt.

Makes 4 servings.

*If kept in an airtight glass container in fridge, the dip will last for 4-5 days.

*Try to serve warm with your veggies for snack.

10. Apples or celery with raw nut or seed butter (tahini, almond, sunflower, etc…)

Is your favorite snack on the list?

Make sure you have your snack bag with you, too! I carry around snacks with me everywhere I go, in the car, in a small cooler… avoiding the “hangry” is a must!

During Fall Renewal 10 Day Detox and Eat Clean 21FIT, actually with all my programs and plans, you will see a well-balanced mid-afternoon snack listed. Making sure to fuel your afternoon is crucial so you don’t set yourself up for eating everything in sight when you get home from work.

I just LOVE this snack and detox prep from Misty Bailey, Clean + Sexy beast and Renewal Detox beauty!

I’m looking forward to hearing about how you fuel your afternoons so list your favorite snack idea below.

PS. Eating is a BIG part of Fall Renewal Detox and EatClean 21FIT- mid-afternoon snacks are built into the menus!

Grab the Fall Bundle for a total wellness body reboot!

Click here for deets on the fall programs>>>







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