Its 2 p.m. and instead of focusing on work, all you can think about is putting your head on a pillow to take a nap. Your usual afternoon slump kicks in full force and it takes everything in you to stay awake. So you reach for a coffee or an energy drink, but it only helps for a little bit and then you are right back to square one.
There are many factors that start your afternoon slump, but one of the biggest ones is the blood sugar rollercoaster. A blood sugar rollercoaster causes enormous biological and chemical stress on the body, initiating the stress response on a regular basis, systematically destroying good health.
A blood sugar rollercoaster usually happens after we ingest too many empty (simple) carbs. These are foods that are high in sugar and low in protein. Some examples are baked goods, white bread, pasta, and processed foods. Once we eat these simple carbs our blood sugar levels spike; when they plunge a few hours later, this is when we experience a crash in energy levels, and we reach for caffeine or sugary foods to try to get more energy.
Here are the top 5 ways to beat that mid afternoon slump
- Stay Hydrated
The majority of us are actually dehydrated. Water plays a key role in our bodies and is the most underused macronutrient that the body needs. Water fights fatigue, aids in digestion by forming stomach secretions, flushes bodily wastes, and reduces inflammation. Make sure to get a minimum of 64 ounces each day.
- Eat a balanced lunch with COMPLEX carbs and Protein
The body breaks down carbs into sugar for energy, but unlike simple carbs, it takes the body more time to break down complex carbs which provide a constant supply of energy. Think of complex carbs like a slow burn, compared to a simple carb which is like a flash fire. Good examples of complex carbs are whole grains, beans, veggies, and my favorite…sweet potato. Protein helps stabilize your blood sugar from drastic peaks and falls. A good example of having equal amounts of carbs and protein is a Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.
- Don’t over eat
Our body will have to put all of its energy into digesting all of the food you consumed, which means you lack energy to stay awake. Instead, try having a smaller meal for lunch and a snack later in the afternoon.
- Don’t Skip Meals
If you skip breakfast, you will be far more likely to over eat during lunch. If you skip lunch your blood sugar levels will continue to stay low, causing moodiness, cravings and lack of concentration.
- Avoid Sugary food and drinks to wake you up
Reaching for sugar to help give you an energy boost may seem like a good idea, but your blood sugar will drop just as quick as it went up with the sugar. Instead, try taking a 10 minute walk outside, organize your desk, or any activity that gets you moving.
Having a balanced nutrition program is key to avoiding that dreaded afternoon slump. A great way to get a balanced nutrition program is by working with a Health Coach. This is a great way to help you stay on track and to get answers to any questions you may have.