How to Survive a Midafternoon Energy Slump
By Pam Evans, MS RD
Have you ever blown through all your energy for the day before 3 pm? How did you survive the next few activity-crammed hours of the day?
While many people look to caffeine or sugar to boost their energy levels, there are healthier strategies that work even better. First, examine your food choices for lunch. Are you choosing foods that have protein and fiber to sustain you? Choosing meals that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein may leave you feeling hungry sooner than a meal higher in protein and fiber. As an example, eating just some rice cakes and a banana for lunch may not help you feel as satiated later in the afternoon because it lacks protein. Instead, a few high fiber crackers should keep you more full for a longer time.
If you do eat a protein-rich lunch and are still having midafternoon slumps, you may also want to look at your sleep pattern. Are you getting enough sleep? Research shows that people who do not get the rest they need will often crave more carbohydrates (sweets, crunchy snack food) the next day.
Are you eating a protein rich lunch AND getting enough sleep and STILL craving that chocolate midafternoon? You may want to stock your cupboards at home and at work with a snack food that may be somewhat sweet but also offers some nutrition and fiber, such as an orange and a piece of string cheese, Greek yogurt or a chocolate protein bar. These choices will help manage your blood sugar spike better than a bar of chocolate or cookies.
Remember too that often getting out of your house or work site for a quick five minute walk around the block can be exactly what you need to stretch and energize!!
Here are a few midafternoon snack ideas:
A slice of turkey, a slice of low-fat cheese and a high fiber cracker
Cottage cheese with fresh berries
Red pepper slices with hummus
1 oz. almonds and a few dried cranberries
String cheese and a small orange
Remember that YOU are responsible for setting up your environment at home and at work for success around midafternoon snack choices. If the wrong choices aren’t there, you can’t eat them!!