It’s 4pm, and you’re already yawning and feeling exhausted. Put that double expresso and muffin down – they aren’t going to get you through!!
Who hasn’t experienced that drained feeling halfway through the afternoon, when making it through the day seems impossible? According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly half of us report an afternoon slump where energy and concentration are challenged. One of the most common reasons for afternoon fatigue is fluctuating blood sugar levels. If too much sugar is released into the body at once, by either waiting too long to eat between meals or high carbohydrate or fatty foods, too much insulin is released to balance the sugar levels. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise and fall rapidly, leading to a quick burst of energy followed by a deep crash. And therein lays the afternoon energy slump… yawn!!!
Enter SNACKS. So, why are they such an important part of your day? Snacks are those 150-200 calories that will save you!! They bridge the gap between meals and stop that rumbling stomach when lunch and dinner are hours away. They keep your blood sugar stable and your hunger in check so that you are not grabbing a candy bar from the nearest vending machine or gorging everything in sight at your next meal. Snacks will fuel your AM workout if there is no time for a proper meal and will replenish your glycogen stores after you have finished that run and strength session. Snacks are also a great way to get in extra whole foods to ensure that you are getting in the correct nutrients for the day.
It’s important to pick the right snack at the right time, to keep energy levels up and bridge the gap properly. A snack made up of a complex carb, a healthy fat, and clean protein will increase your energy levels for a longer period of time.
So, back to that 4pm slump. It’s the time of day when another cup of coffee or quick sugary snack seems like the perfect way to carry you to the end of the day. Hold that thought! With this snack list in hand, and a little planning, you can easily push through and run to the finish line. Don’t let that 4pm slump take control of you; you have the power to take control of it! Below is a list of my top ten snacks to beat that slump, so arm yourself with the ingredients and knowledge that you have the power to keep your hunger and energy in check all day!
TEN TOP SNACKS TO PREVENT THE AFTERNOON SLUMP
- A handful of raw unsalted nuts/homemade trail mix – the protein, fiber, and fat is a perfect snack combination
- 2 cups of mixed raw veggie sticks and 2 tbsp of your favorite dip – hummus, tahini, pesto, etc.
- Hardboiled egg, ¼ avocado, and tomato on a piece of sprouted rye toast
- ½ cup organic Greek yogurt (or a lactose-free option) with 1 tbsp nut butter, cinnamon, and ½ apple, sliced, OR Greek yogurt with 2 tbsp mixed nuts, seeds, and berries
- Green juice – cucumber, kale, spinach, parsley, celery, lemon ginger, and coconut oil
- Smoothie – unsweetened almond milk, ½ banana, 1 tbsp almond butter, protein powder, vanilla, cinnamon, hemp seeds, maca powder/cacao powder, and ice
- 1 apple, sliced, with 1 tbsp nut butter
- Popcorn with little sea salt and olive oil and a handful of nuts/seeds
- Chopped fruit salad with fresh mint and some almonds
- Nori seaweed, canned salmon/tuna, avocado, spinach, and cucumber wrap