4 Ways to Avoid the Afternoon Slump
You're at work. The clock hits 2:30 and your face about hits your desk or you embarrassingly nod off in that meeting, right in front of the boss. Unfortunately, it's just before your quarterly review. Why is this happening to you? Is it because your caffeine binge that lasted all morning long has finally worn off? Are you crashing because you ate a candy bar for both breakfast and lunch? Many times, people can avoid the afternoon slump with a few simple diet changes.
1. Don't Miss Breakfast
According to Dr. David S. Ludwig, a nutrition expert at Harvard, who is also affiliated with Children's Hospital Boston, if you miss a good breakfast, you may start off with an energy deficit and cause your body to dig into its energy reserves. This isn't a good thing. It can have you running to the drink machine for one of those sugary energy drinks that make you feel like your skin is crawling. And talk about a crash?
The Harvard website says that eating a breakfast high in protein, some complex carbohydrates, and some fruits and vegetables can help you have a more energetic day. So, you may consider trying something like steel cut oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts, and eggs for breakfast. Also, although many people love bacon for breakfast, many health experts suggest skipping or at least limiting the processed meats. We know, not eating bacon is a hard ask, but nobody said you couldn't cheat every now and then.
2. Limit Your Caffeine
Scores of people must have their cup of coffee in the morning. Actually, many people need to have a couple cups of coffee, which is fine. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 mg of caffeine appears to be safe for most healthy adults. However, having too much caffeine can result in headaches, nervousness, irritability, upset stomach, tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and insomnia. When a person experiences sleep loss, this can affect their daytime alertness and performance. Remember the meeting with the boss?
3. Eat Small, Frequent Snacks and Meals
What happens when you go to the grocery store hungry? Well, many times you end up buying more than you should (we don't mind). And what's worse is that you can end up buying a lot of things that maybe aren't so good for you. (Remember that bacon?)
In short, going without eating throughout the day makes you hungrier and hungrier and it causes your blood sugar to plummet. The next thing you know, you're reaching for another candy bar.
"After about three hours without food, blood sugar begins to fall. And after 4 hours, your body has already digested whatever you sent down earlier," says Cleveland dietitian, Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD. "Once you've crossed the 5-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel."
4. Eat Foods that Don't Spike Your Blood Sugar
So what foods work well for keeping your blood sugar even to help you avoid that crash? Well, there is actually some pretty satisfying food out there that you can eat.
Harvard recommends: non-starchy vegetables, beans, and fruits such as apples, peaches, berries, etc. Also, foods such as brown rice, steel cut oats and natural granola work very well. Foods with healthy fats are also a great choice. These foods include almonds, walnuts, pecans, and avocados.
The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Remember to always check with your physician before starting any exercise or diet program. This is especially important if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications.