My stomach usually starts rumbling around 3 or 4 PM. And not only is this hunger distracting, but it can lead to some bad food choices later on in the day. Hunger like this can make us crave high-calorie foods once we finally get home and to our pantries and refrigerators. In order to beat this afternoon hunger and inevitable carb-loading, try these 3 easy things.

1. Snack throughout the day

The best way to beat hunger? Eating! Some researchers have suggested that eating many small meals or snacks a day is better for us than eating three large meals a day. As long as these snacks are healthy and wholesome, we can keep our metabolic rates up. This also means that you won’t have much of a chance to get hungry as the day goes on. If you’re not sold on this style of eating, no worries! You should still keep a snack or two in your desk drawer for those 3 PM hunger pangs. After all, think about how our days are split up. If you work a traditional 9-5 job, you probably go about 4 hours in between breakfast and lunch without eating. However, there are probably around 6 or 7 hours in between lunch and dinner. That’s a long time to go without eating! A snack is just the thing you need to bridge the two meals.

2. Eat more protein

Protein makes us feel fuller for longer periods of time. Consider eating eggs for breakfast, which are high in protein. Or, include some deli meat on your next sandwich for lunch. This might go a long way to ensuring that you’re alert and satisfied for the entire afternoon.

3. Stay hydrated

Sometimes, we can confuse hunger for thirst. It sounds crazy, but it’s actually pretty common. If you feel hungry even though you don’t think you should be (i.e. you ate recently), try drinking some water. It might just take care of those false hunger feelings. Additionally, water can help fill our stomachs up. If you are actually hungry but you don’t have a snack handy, this can help quiet stomach growls. Keep in mind, this is not an invitation to substitute water for food; if you’re truly hungry, you should nourish your body properly and give it the calories it needs.