What would you say is the most popular time for Canadians to snack? Is it:

  1. Between breakfast and lunch
  2. Between lunch and dinner
  3. After dinner
  4. Late night

If you circled “b,” you’d better wipe the ink off your screen. Then pat yourself on the back: You nailed it! Yes, statistics show that nearly a quarter of all Canadian snacking happens between lunch and dinner.

Why are snacks so popular between 1 and 5pm? It’s simple: Many hard-working guys need snacks. Depending on what you’ve eaten (or not eaten) since getting out of bed, you may not have consumed enough calories to meet your body’s energy needs as the day wears on. Contrary to what some diet plans tell you, snacking isn’t “bad.” In many cases, it’s necessary! The “3pm slump,” as it’s called, is real, and that’s why healthy snacks are important.

The key is to choose snacks that give you the energy you need without bringing unhealthy fat, and excess sugar and salt, to the table. Thankfully, there are plenty of tasty and easy-to-prepare options that fit the bill. What healthy snacks give you energy? Here are three prime examples:

Sliced vegetables and humous.

Sliced veggies with guacamole or hummus

It doesn’t get any easier, or a whole lot tastier, than buying a bag of those crunchy baby-cut carrots, a container of prepared guacamole or hummus, and dipping like you’ve never dipped before. Carrots, after all, are jammed with Vitamin A, which is essential for keeping your eyes and skin healthy. A 2014 study, meanwhile, found that eating more carrots produced “a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer,” which is the second-most-common form of cancer among men.

Guacamole is made mainly from avocados, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Hummus is based on chickpeas, which are packed with protein, fibre and other nutrients.

The carrots-guac-hummus combo gives you two different dipping options. Add some sliced red peppers to the mix, and suddenly you’ve got four. Red peppers satisfy all your daily Vitamin C needs (and then some), which helps keep your gums healthy, helps your body recover from injury, and may even reduce the risk of some cancers and prevent signs of aging.

Whichever option you choose, creamy deliciousness meets satisfying crunch. And if you want to take the two dips to the next level, the new “8 Delicious Recipes for a Healthier Game Day” ebook contains awesome easy recipes for both. Download it for free today!

Yogurt and berries.

Berries and Greek yogurt

If sweet snacks are more your style in the afternoon, Mother Nature has just the thing. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are naturally sweet, and each of them offers an impressive array of health benefits.

Strawberries and raspberries are Vitamin C powerhouses, while all three berries are rich in digestion-aiding fibre and antioxidants that help flush toxins out of your body and help fight several forms of cancer.

Stir any or all of these tender gems into some low-fat, zero-cholesterol Greek yogurt — which is full of bone-strengthening calcium and muscle-building protein — and you’ve got an afternoon snack that tastes as good as it is for you.

Trail mix.

Trail mix

Sweet and savoury flavours come together easily and deliciously when you combine protein-rich nuts with any number of tiny, healthy delicacies in a ziploc bag or plastic container.

There’s the basic “GORP mix” — that’s Good Old Raisins and Peanuts — with the dried fruit being full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C. What else can you do with trail mix? The options are endless! Here are some ideas to get you started:

The Commuter: Need a little pick-me-up on the drive, walk, pedal or run into work? Mix up some chocolate-covered coffee beans, raisins, peanuts and almonds.

The Picnic: Mimic the universally popular PB&J with peanuts, dried strawberries, peanut butter chips and shredded wheat cereal.

The Radical: You want sweet and savoury? You’ll get it big-time by blending barbecued almonds, low-sodium beef jerky, dried cherries, M&Ms and sunflower seeds.