We’ve all been there, it’s late in the afternoon and we have zero energy left for the workday. Do you find yourself reaching for that quick energy fix candy or coffee in the afternoon? Try these simple nutrition and lifestyle tips to avoid the afternoon slump that will keep you energized throughout the whole day.
Get adequate amount of sleep.
How we start our day determines our mood, energy, and food choices from the moment we awaken. Getting enough sleep allows our body to fully rest and recover from the day before as an insufficient amount can leave us reaching for unhealthy food choices and caffeine. If you have trouble falling asleep, shut off electronics an hour before, don’t eat or drink caffeine 8 hours before, make the room completely dark, go to the washroom before bed to prevent getting up in the middle of the night, and make your bedroom completely dark. Aim for at least 6 or more of undisturbed hours of sleep per night.
Start your day off with a satisfying protein and fat rich breakfast.
Eating protein and fat in the morning will help stabilize your blood sugars and keep you fuller longer so you wont be reaching an unhealthy snack mid morning. Healthy fats include: avocados, egg yolks, nuts and seeds, grass fed butter, coconut oil, and full fat coconut milk. Some great breakfasts ideas include: scrambled eggs with sautéed vegetables (check out my recipe for paleo skillet), overnight oatmeal, chocolate vegan protein pancakes, smoothies with vegan protein powder and superfoods (chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, spirulina), grass-fed plain yogurt with apple cinnamon granola, poached eggs and toast with sliced avocado, sliced tomato sprinkled with turmeric and black pepper.
Stay hydrated throughout the day.
Don’t wait until you’re dehydrated to drink water. Being even slightly dehydrated will leave you feeling tired and sluggish with poor concentration. Aim to drink 2-3 liters of water daily, more if you’re exercising. Upon wakening, I recommend drinking a large glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This will help alkalize and mildly detox the body and organs as it prepares for its first meal. Avoid reaching for coffee first thing in the morning, as it a diuretic and is acidic to the body.
Eat small frequent meals throughout the day.
Causing a delay in eating can cause fatigue, irritableness and a possibility of eating a surplus of calories during your next meal since you are ravenously hungry. You want to keep your blood glucose at a constant state preventing fluctuations in blood glucose and mood swings; therefore, eating the small nutrient rich meals often, is recommended.
Proper food combining.
Eat carbohydrates with a protein or fat. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars and are quickly digested. Eating carbohydrates with protein or fat will slow digestion causing a slow release of glucose in the blood. Complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, lentils and legumes, are rich in fiber that will prevent sugar spikes and crashes, keeping your energy elevated throughout the day.
Is your job primarily sedentary? Get your blood flowing by taking a walk during your break or simply taking a 5-10 minute break every hour to stretch. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making you more alert and help keep you focused on tasks.
Following your burst of energy from caffeine, is a caffeine crash, with this fatigue will follow. You may be tempted to reach for another cup of coffee or refined carbohydrate for more energy continuing the perpetual cycle. If you do want your morning coffee (after lemon water of course) add healthy fats like grass-fed butter, MCT oil or coconut oil, which will keep you satiated until your next meal. Check out my pumpkin spice protein latte recipe.
Now that we’ve covered ways to help prevent the mid-day slump, see below for some delicious snack ideas.
- Trail mix- raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut, and goji berries
- Plain grass fed yogurt with fresh organic blueberries, hemp seeds and raw unpasteurized honey
- Smoothie bowl
- Vanilla almond chia pudding
- Kale chips
- Hard boiled egg and gluten free crackers
- Natural nut butter spread on celery topped with goji berries
- Baked chickpeas
- Vegan protein berry smoothie
- Sun dried tomato and basil hummus with sliced vegetables
- Raw/unpasteurized cheese with gluten free crackers
- Apple slices with natural nut butter sprinkled with cinnamon
- Wild smoked salmon, herb soft goat cheese and crackers
- Pumpkin spice granola bars
Renee was raised in small town Kaslo in the West Kootenays. After graduating, she pursued a health and lifestyle path by enrolling in the Human Kinetics program at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna. Through university she found her passion not only to be fitness, but nutrition as well. She decided to specialize in holistic nutrition in 2012 at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Nanaimo, and returned to the Okanagan where she now resides.
Renée’s strong belief in healthy practices such as fitness, nutrition and emotional well-being, fit well with the principles holistic nutrition. Renée’s method of ditching the diet and switching to a lifestyle where incorporating nourishing food everyday will have you feeling empowered and revitalized. You can forget about trendy diets that leave you feeling hungry, irritable, and tired, and now incorporate natural, alive and good quality whole foods.
Visit Renée's website, Verity Nutrition, for more nourishing recipe ideas.