When our concentration begins to slide during the mid-afternoon slump, many of us reach for a chocolate bar or a packet of chips to curb our hunger.
But Australian nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin has revealed the simple things you can do to boost your energy levels and keep the post-lunch cravings at bay.
And it all starts with eating the right food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, she said.
Australian nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin (pictured) has revealed the simple things you can do to boost your energy levels and keep the afternoon slump at bay
The foods to eat to beat the 3pm slump
- Lean meats
- Nuts and seeds,
- Cheese and wholegrain crackers
- Vegetables sticks with hummus
- Handful of nuts
- Yoghurt with berries
Zoe said poor eating habits, lack of exercise and getting little sleep are some of the main causes of an afternoon slump.
‘The answer to sustained physical energy and mental alertness is to feed your body and brain the right fuel,’ the TV chef said in a health blog for Dietlicious.
Zoe said you need to include three key macronutrients in your diet – carbohydrates, protein and fat.
‘I’m talking about unprocessed foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds,’ she said
‘When we eat these foods, we provide our bodies with the right nutrients in the right doses and it helps us to feel good, remain energetic and stay focused and productive.’
Zoe said poor eating habits, lack of exercise and getting little sleep are some of the main causes of an afternoon slump
According to studies, Zoe said people who eat a healthy breakfast with a good amount of protein will tend to eat better throughout the day.
Starting your day with a healthy meal can keep you fuller for longer, increase alertness and provide the energy boost you need.
‘Continuing your day with a balanced, healthy lunch will optimise your satisfaction and reduce afternoon cravings,’ she said.
‘And a nourishing, portion-controlled dinner not only promotes good sleep but sets you up properly to repeat the good habits the following day.’
If you feel peckish, Zoe said there are healthy snacks you can get that contains protein, fibre, good fats and some low GI carbohydrates.
She said the biggest mistake people make when they’re feeling sluggish is reaching for unhealthy snacks such as a chocolate bar, chips or soft drink.
If you feel peckish, Zoe said there are healthy snacks you can get that contains protein, fibre, good fats and some low GI carbohydrates
‘I know it’s tempting, but unfortunately these discretionary treats are virtually nutrition-less, and their high glycaemic index will exacerbate energy spikes and crashes, making you feel worse in the long run,’ she said.
She said the best options are cheese and wholegrain crackers, vegetables sticks with hummus, handful of nuts and yoghurt with berries.
If you’re stuck behind a desk at work, Zoe said a three minute ‘burst of activity’ can help lift you out of the slump.
‘Don’t sit still – your body associates stillness with sleep. Your body temperature can also drop, which is another cue to sleepiness, she said.
‘Your body temperature can also drop, which is another cue to sleepiness… so head around the office, up the stairs or for a walk in your lunch break.’