We all know about that time of day at work when our energy levels take a nose-dive and we feel like retreating under the nearest desk, but there are some simple ways to overcome the afternoon energy slump that will leave you bouncing around until home time. It's the time of the day when most people are likely to fall off the weight watching wagon and submit to the allure of the sinful snack machine. The mixture of fatigue through having been up for around nine hours and the benefits of lunch wearing off, can leave us feeling lackluster and in need of rejuvenating. But there are some simple ways to deal with the afternoon energy slump without doing irreparable damage.
1. Big Breakfast
One meal principle revolves around the idea that you breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper. Sometimes I breakfast, lunch AND dine like a king but that's beside the point. You don't have to necessarily adhere to that mantra but what you should ensure is that you have a breakfast which is healthy and which is going to sustain you. Breakfast helps to boost your metabolism all day long. Studies have shown that those who skip breakfast are more likely to need more calories in the afternoon and are more likely to reach for high fat and high sugar snacks. Avoid the unhealthy snack-trap and have a hearty and healthy breakfast to avoid that afternoon energy slump. Opt for lean protein such as eggs, low fat yogurt or lean ham and combine with slow energy releasing complex carbohydrates such as whole grains.
2. Protein Pack
You should make sure that all of your meals contain protein. Your lunch is no exception. Be sure that you have a healthy and well-balanced lunch consisting of protein, slow energy releasing carbohydrates and vegetables, but be sure to keep the fat content to a minimum. Good fats are an exception and you can get these from a portion of oily fish, chopped avocado or a sprinkling of seeds or nuts on your salad or in your favorite sandwich.
3. Suitable Snacks
Make sure that your snacks are suitable for sustaining you. Rather than opting for the high-in-sugar snacks which will give you that quick sugar burst followed by that swift energy low, opt for healthy alternatives such as seeds and nuts. Apple slices with a little nut butter will also satisfy in a super healthy way. Sprinkle some cinnamon over them to help further control those blood sugar levels.
4. Herbal Teas
I'm a big fan of herbal teas and there are so many to choose from you can probably have a different one for each day of the month! Some herbal teas are great for keeping the Cookie Monster at bay too. And you can make your own 'cocktails' by mixing teas and creating your own unique blends. For example, for an awesome immunity boosting tea in the winter months, mix a tea bag of echinacea with a tea bag of rooibos, 2 cloves and a little manuka honey to taste. For a fabulous mid-afternoon boost, sip on green tea and lemongrass tea bags or make yourself a caffeine-free hot beverage of ground ginger and a squeeze of lemon to refresh and revive. Avoid consuming too much caffeine as this will affect your sleep, which will lead you to wanting more high sugar foods to keep you awake.
Sometimes, all we need is hydrating rather than feeding. Be sure to drink water throughout the day and to see whether you are indeed in need of something solid to consume, have a glass of water and wait twenty minutes. If the hunger has not subsided then have a healthy snack to satisfy you.
6. Walk It off
Sometimes, all you need is some fresh air to re-energize. I find it impossible to stay in one place and if I did have a pedometer, I know it would show how I clock up a fair few miles a day just through walking around. I know that it's time for a walk when I start to feel lethargic. That's when I get up and go for a brisk walk to wake me up, rather than reaching for the oh so tempting sugary snack.
7. Keep Busy
Boredom is sometimes the culprit when it comes to thinking that you feel hungry. I'm not saying for one moment that your job is boring but sometimes, when things get a little mundane, it can be easy to pass the time by looking forward to Afternoon Snack O'Clock. Why not schedule meetings for the time when you're likely to be at your most nimble fingered and tempted to reach for the snacks? How about scheduling a mini workout with the rest of your office clan to get the blood pumping? With many people having sedentary jobs, a little office workout can really re-energize and revive and it's probably all that you need, rather than extra calories.
These are the things I do to stave off that afternoon slump. How about you? Any tips to keep the afternoon Cookie Monster at bay?