It’s that time of the day again – after a productive morning, the afternoon slump kicks in and your energy levels start to dip, concentrating becomes harder, and the office vending machine starts calling your name. Your stomach rumbles, and you desperately start looking around for something – anything – that will give you an energy boost to get you through to dinner.
Sounds familiar? Before you reach for that Kit Kat, consider this…
Junk food can’t give you a lasting energy supply.
Junk food and sugary drinks cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels. The Red Bull, can of Pepsi or the Snickers bar provide a short boost of energy but they are devoid of nutritional value and cause our energy levels to drop shortly after consuming them.
That’s because unhealthy snacks increase the glucose levels in our bodies, which in turn causes the pancreas to secrete insulin as a response mechanism. Our energy levels crash shortly afterward because high spikes in insulin lead to dramatic drops in blood glucose.
The end result? We feel tired again and our bodies feel hungry sooner. Worse yet, the higher the insulin levels in our bodies, the more likely we are to store fat because insulin is the main hormone that puts fat into fat cells.
Eating clean is the best solution for maintaining long-term energy.
Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day is vital to energy. The solution to fighting afternoon fatigue is to eat foods that even out insulin production. It’s all about eating REAL FOOD as close to its natural state as possible. The less processed the food and the more work your body has to do to digest it, the better!
Foods with protein and healthy fats slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, which helps prevent insulin spikes and drops.
The general rule is to stay away from all refined/processed carbohydrates and sugary drinks!
So the next time your stomach grumbles and the afternoon slump kicks in, try these healthy alternatives instead…
Some great energy-boosting fruits are bananas, apples, pineapples, and antioxidant-rich berries. Eating fresh fruits will keep you alert throughout the day and is the easiest way to add more fibre and nutrients to your diet. Most fruits can be digested in under 30 minutes, which makes them a quick, nutritious way to get a burst of energy.
Veggie sticks with hummus
Veggie sticks like celery, carrots, and peppers dipped in hummus are a great afternoon snack. The protein and fibre of the veggies keep you full and the carbohydrates in hummus will keep you satisfied until dinner.
Edamame is a delicious immature green soybean that has long been eaten in China, Japan and other Asian countries. This healthy snack is incredibly nutritious and keeps your metabolism running fast.
Looking for a quick, easy and portable snack? Then look no further than almonds. A handful of raw and unsalted almonds will give you energy because they contain healthy fats, fibre, and protein. Make sure that you eat don’t eat more than a handful though, since almonds are high in fat.
Homemade protein balls are the perfect snack for afternoon munching because they are tasty, small and portable. They’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and give you much-needed protein to keep you full until dinner.
Yogurt with granola and berries
The tasty combination of Greek yogurt topped with granola and berries will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Plain Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and adding berries enhances its nutritional value and flavour. Frozen berries work just as well. If you want to add more sweetness, just add a drizzle of organic honey. Honey is an all-natural energy source that’s considered a superfood by many cultures around the world.
Take a note from Japan when choosing your afternoon snack. The Japanese have some of the longest life expectancy rates in the world because their diets are seafood and seaweed-based. Eating unsalted dried nori (seaweed) is becoming increasingly popular for its health benefits. Nori is the same seaweed that’s wrapped around a sushi roll. This superfood is filled with minerals like iron and iodine and is one of the world’s richest sources of protein.