Are you a victim of the afternoon slump? Do you find it hard to get from 3pm to 4pm without a chocolate bar or coffee fix?
Nutritionist, Hazel Pelham has some tips for boosting your afternoon energy.
Energy highs and lows are so common that many of us accept them as a normal part of life. But feeling sluggish every afternoon might not be something you just have to live with. Some simple changes to diet and habits can really help. Here are my top 5 suggestions.
Focus on fuel
Blood sugar peaks and troughs are a common cause of us ‘running out of steam’. My clients find that eating regular meals with good amounts of protein and fibre really helps.
Switch from carbohydrate-heavy breakfasts of cereal or toast and replace with eggs, nuts or even fish. If this sounds a bit extreme, boost up your protein by adding nuts and seeds to cereal or yoghurt, or spreading some nut butter on your toast. Every little helps.
Cutting out the carbs at lunchtime can help you to stay alert during the afternoon. Try salads with cold meat or fish or beans. If this is a step too far, just bump up the ratios of bread to protein in your lunch or add a bag of nuts to replace crisps.
Resist the quick fix
Caffeine and chocolate are the stick rather than the carrot when it comes to boosting our energy. Be kind to yourself and nourish your energy, rather than beating yourself back into action.
Was it something you ate? Think about what you are eating for lunch. Is this something you don’t digest well? Sandwiches are the most commonly eaten lunch, but if you don’t process wheat efficiently this can contribute to afternoon sluggishness.
Try to think outside the box with your lunchbox. Try rice or bean salads, cold meat and other leftovers.
Many of us eat ‘on the go’ or sitting at our desks. This makes hard work for our digestive systems. If at all possible, get away from it all while you eat, preferably outdoors.
There will always be days when alternative lunches or getting a minute’s peace are not going to be an option. On those days, using a digestive enzyme supplement can help you to get the most out of your lunch.
Another cause of afternoon slump is poor adrenal function. These (often overworked) glands are responsible for helping us deal with stress. Giving your adrenals some TLC is a great way to boost energy, particularly in the afternoon.
Magnesium is found is green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. It’s really important for energy production. Green up your salads by adding rocket, baby spinach, parsley, watercress and a handful of nuts or seeds. Alternatively, replace the afternoon cuppa with a green smoothie.
Wilting for water?
Just like plants, we wilt without enough water. Keep yourself perky by drinking water throughout the day. A 1% drop in hydration can cause a 10% fall in mental function!
Make sure you’ve got some water handy and if all else fails, use some to splash your face!