Every day after lunch you can feel it… You’re trying desperately to will it away, but, inevitably the clock strikes 3 pm. It’s here. The afternoon slump. As usual, you are exhausted by this point in the afternoon. You’re so tired, just the thought of typing on the computer keyboard seems like a daunting task, not to mention you can barely keep your eyes open.
The afternoon slump is nothing new. In fact, when this happened yesterday, you swore it wouldn’t happen again. As you walk to the café to get a cup of coffee, you wonder how to avoid this energy-draining slump tomorrow.
Here’s the good news: there are steps you can take to energize your body throughout the day and avoid this desperate feeling. One of the best ways to start is by balancing your meals to support your energy. Here are four simple ways to balance your meals and boost your energy to avoid the afternoon slump.
1. Let’s begin with breakfast. Before we even talk about what to eat, let’s recognize the importance of eating breakfast, period. Your body has been in a state of rest, relaxation, and recharging for several hours. It needs fuel in the form of nutritious carbohydrates and protein to get going in the morning. Instead of processed, sugary cereal and milk, why not go for oatmeal with almonds and blueberries as in the yogurt with granola and berries (protein: 12g, carbs: 33g, total fat: 8g, calories: 240) from Zolli Coffee. Or consider some eggs with veggies, as in Andy’s Skinny Omelet (protein: 19g, carbs: 30g, total fat: 11g, calories: 300) from Puckett’s.
2. If you want to have lasting energy through the afternoon, then pay special attention to what you’re eating at lunch. Think about building your lunch with protein and fiber while also including a little healthy fat. Whether you’re a vegan, an omnivore (or anything in between), you can make protein + fiber + healthy fat your go-to formula for lasting energy and balanced blood sugar. Instead of a carb-heavy meal that will likely leave you sleepy, think about Danielle’s Southwestern Salad (protein: 61g, carbs: 32g, total fat: 15g, calories: 500) at Jonathan’s Bar & Grille or the Grilled Trout lunch (protein: 34g, carbs: 37g, total fat: 36g, calories: 610) at Midtown Cafe as possible energy-supportive meals.
3. It’s also important to remember to drink water throughout the day. Dehydration is certain to cause sleepiness and fatigue. In some cases, a few glasses of water could make the difference between your 3 pm exhaustion and afternoon vitality. In addition to water, you might think about treating yourself to an herbal tea or juice such as the After Burn (protein: 3g, carbs: 26g, total fat: 1g, calories: 120) from Urban Juicer.
4. Don’t forget to put some thought into your snacks, too. When eating for energy, stay away from excess fats and sugars like the kind in candy bars and most packaged food. The fat in these foods will make you feel lethargic and the sugars will provide an initial energy spike, but then you’ll feel the afternoon slump as you come down from the sugar high. Take a few minutes at home to prepare a DIY trail mix with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and goji berries. For sweetness you can add some cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips.
Remember, the afternoon slump doesn’t have to continue. You can control how your body feels by nourishing it with balanced meals (and water) throughout the day.
*All nutrition data provided by the NourishWise app.
About the author:
Amber Robertson is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner based in Nashville, TN. She teaches successful professional women how to reverse fatigue and restore their energy so they can thrive in their career and personal lives. Connect with Amber and learn more at www.blissholistic.com.