5 Ways to Avoid the Afternoon Energy Slump
Stay focused, alert and productive all day long.
It’s 2 p.m., and your brain is fried. Before you make your second (or third, or fourth…) cup of coffee, consider these nutrition-based tips for staying energized throughout the day. From the Ivanka Trump Collection: Pleated Print Organza Midi Dress, Brita Pumps, and Hopewell Satchel.
Eat a fiber-rich breakfast
“High-fiber foods like vegetables and beans should keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day, as should healthy proteins and fat,” explains nutrition coach and Entrepreneur in Residence Maria Marlowe. Chia seeds check all those boxes. “They’re well known for their ability to keep you energized and satiated for long periods of time,” she says. Make chia gel before bed to eat for breakfast. Maria recommends combining equal parts chia seeds and water, then refrigerating it overnight. She adds it smoothies, turns it into chia seed pudding and uses it to make chia jam, which she puts over to oatmeal. “Rolled oats, steel cut oats and Irish oats topped with berries and nuts are also a good choice because they’re digested slowly and will keep you full for hours," she says. The catch? “Flavored and instant oatmeals, which are heavily processed and have added sugar, will cause your energy to crash.”
Make lunch veg-heavy
“Your lunch plate should be at least 50% vegetables, 25% healthy protein and 25% whole grains or extra veggies,” says Maria. For the protein, she recommends a cup of beans or lentils or three ounces of wild fish. If you’re hitting your favorite salad bar, prioritize protein. “Often, they’ll only give you a quarter cup of beans, so make sure to ask for a double scoop,” she advises. “Top it with a tablespoon or two of sunflower or pumpkin seeds for an extra boost of nutrients and proteins.” Avoid sugar, excessive caffeine and refined grains. All of those foods give you an energy boost—followed by a major crash. “White bread, pizza, pasta, candy, soda, pastries, cereal—they’re all no-no’s,” says Maria.
Snack on energy-boosters
Your snacks should have lots of protein, fiber and healthy fat to keep you full and energized. Maria recommends a sliced apple or pear dipped in almond butter. “The fruit contains fiber, while the nut butter provides protein and healthy fats,” she explains. “You can get little single serve packets of nut butter to keep at work.” She also suggests having half an avocado with salt and red pepper flakes. “The fiber and healthy fat should keep you satiated till dinner—just grab a spoon and dig in,” says Maria. Nuts are another great choice. “Nuts are generally a good source of protein, fat and magnesium, a mineral that, when depleted, can cause low energy,” she says. Go for cashews, almonds and hazelnuts.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Before you reach for coffee to boost your energy, drink a glass of water and see how you feel. “Sometimes, just being dehydrated can make us sluggish,” says Maria. She also suggests having a drink made with fiber- and protein-rich chia seeds, but warns to avoid those that have added sugar. Green tea, although it has caffeine, is preferable to coffee. “It’s bursting with antioxidants and has less caffeine than coffee,” she explains.
Get up and move around
Take a walk around the block, step away from your desk or even try a few office-friendly yoga poses. “At work, we’re always multitasking, which depletes our mental energy, and yoga trains your brain to monotask,” says Mindfresh co-founder Jen Kluczkowski. “Think of it the way you would your iPhone—when you shut down all the apps you’re not using, the phone works better. Your brain is the same way.” Take a few minutes to quiet your mind and move around to refuel your productivity and creativity.
Download a cheat sheet with these tips here.
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Image Courtesy of Ivanka Trump Photographer: Kenneth Grzymala