I hate 3:00 pm. Even if I slept great the night before, ate well, exercised, and showered, I always feel sluggish and crappy at 3:00 pm. What makes it worse is that this is usually the time the girls get up from their naps and are pretty cranky themselves.
This used to be the time of day when I would head for the chocolate. Thanks to our relatives and friends in our hometown of Hershey, PA (many of whom work for the Hershey Company), we were always in constant supply of chocolate. And consequently my coffee table was in constant supply of Hershey Kiss wrappers, carefully rolled into a tight ball to conceal how many had actually been consumed.
Although I've managed to kick the Kiss habit, 3:00 pm is still my worst time of day in terms of cravings. I just can't seem to bring myself to bite into an apple or carrot with the same enthusiasm I might have at 10:00 am or 1:00 pm. So I've decided that instead of conquering the chocolate monster, I will simply try to tame him.
The best solution I came up with is trail mix. My current favorite is a blend of peanuts, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, and M&Ms. It satisfies my need for sweets, and it also succeeds in keeping me full until dinner time. As an added bonus, nuts contain healthy Omega 3 fats, so it's technically brain food. Sometimes I buy the trail mix ready-made, and sometimes I make my own. I actually prefer making my own since I can experiment with the ingredients. I've found that just about any trail mix tastes delicious with some M&Ms thrown in, so I plan to keep experimenting to see how healthy I can get it while still keeping it crave-able.
I also recently made a chocolatey pancake concoction that was a big hit with the girls. I started with the Hungry Jack Whole Wheat Blends pancake mix, then added some milled flax seed, smashed banana, chopped walnuts, wheat germ, and some mini chocolate chips. (I've discovered that Sydney can tolerate semi-sweet chocolate chips since they only contain milk fat and not the milk protein).
Sydney was so excited that she was able to eat something with chocolate in it, she thought she had died and gone to heaven. I actually ate these pancakes too, and thought they were delicious. Brynn yelled "yuck" and threw it on the floor. But it wasn't because of the healthy stuff - the crazy child doesn't like chocolate!
The nice thing about chocolate is that a little goes a long way. I find my chocolate fix is just as easily satisfied by something that contains a little chocolate than by an entire bar of chocolate. Well, almost. Nothing will ever beat a Snickers bar...but hey, it has peanuts, so at least it's a source of protein.