Throughout the night, your body has been in a state of rest, relaxation and recharge. It needs fuel in the form of carbohydrates and protein to get going in the morning. Instead of processed cereal and milk, why not go for oatmeal with almonds and blueberries? Or, prepare a couple of hard-boiled eggs that you can grab and go in a hurry. Eat them with a brown rice cake with almond butter and jelly, and you’re starting your day off on the right foot.
Always pair protein with your carbohydrates. Carbohydrates alone will spike your blood sugar, but will inevitably make you crash, possibly even before lunch. Adding protein will not only slow the absorption of carbs for long-lasting energy, but will keep you full until the lunch hour.
Not hungry in the mornings? I understand. My first meal never took place before 11 a.m., and I usually called that lunch. I knew breakfast was important, but I just wasn’t that hungry. I started off small, with just one hard-boiled egg and a quick piece of whole-wheat toast. What a difference! I was energized throughout the morning, and I was no longer in that state of near starvation by dinnertime. The effects were not only astounding – they were immediate.
2. Drink water throughout the day.
Dehydration is certain to cause sleepiness and fatigue. Not only that, water is essential for releasing toxins in the body from our food and our environment. That cloud of exhaust fumes you take in every morning as you walk to work isn’t just stinky and annoying. It’s filling your body and cells with energy-sapping toxins that drag you down, make you tired and add to that “yuck” feeling midday as your body tries to process them out. Give your body a helping hand. Just imagine: A few glasses of water could be the difference between your 3 p.m. exhaustion and all-day vitality.
3. Put some thought into your snacks.
When it comes to snacks, you want to be sure to stay away from excess fats and sugars, which are in candy bars, protein bars and most packaged food. The fatty foods will make you feel lethargic, and the sugars will provide an initial spike, but then you’ll feel the afternoon slump as you come down from the sugar high.
Take a few minutes at home to prepare trail mix with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and Incan berries. For sweetness, you can add some cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips. Not a fan of trail mix? No problem. Sliced apples with natural peanut butter, sliced bell peppers with hummus and rolled-up turkey slices with tahini are all fabulous ways to pack protein and carbohydrates into a snack.
Need something even easier? Nuts.com and Naturebox.com offer some fantastic choices and can be delivered on a scheduled basis. Just remember to keep your snacks full of protein as well as carbohydrates. Need more ideas? My health coaching company, Whole Green You, offers a free download of "40 Snack Ideas On the Go," complete with post-workout snacks.
Finally, if you think you’d benefit from finding out what works for you specifically, customizing a plan and getting one-on-one support, you may benefit from seeing a nutritionist, health coach or personal trainer.
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It's coming. You can feel it. You're trying desperately to will it away, but inevitably, the clock strikes 3 p.m. and suddenly, you're exhausted. The thought of even typing letters on the keyboard seems like an impossible task, not to mention keeping your eyes open. Forget hitting the gym after work, or stopping by your local health food store. Meal prep for tomorrow? Yeah, right! The only thing holding you together right now is the thought of going home, hitting the couch, taking a nap and ordering take-out. Unfortunately, this strategy throws a big fat wrench into all those well-intended New Year's resolutions to get your health back on track.
Good news: There are steps you can take to energize your body throughout the day and avoid this sneaky little gremlin known as "the midday slump." It is possible to get through a workday and still feel energized enough to hit the gym, cook dinner, plan for tomorrow and get a solid night's sleep.
Click through the slideshow above to learn how to eat to avoid midday slump.