You were having a great day at work, and all of sudden, you feel like your feet weigh 1,000 pounds. You can barely keep your eyes open. How can you avoid the dreaded afternoon crash?
1. Have a Good Breakfast
“Wait, I thought we were talking about the afternoon,” you’re probably thinking. We are. The foundation for staying energized all afternoon actually starts in the morning.
When you wake up in the morning, your body is craving nutrients. Skipping breakfast is like driving down the highway with the fuel gauge hovering over “empty.” By the time afternoon rolls around, your brain is going to be completely out of gas.
Breakfast fills up your tank for all-day energy. For a great breakfast, grab fresh fruit, nuts, oatmeal, Greek yogurt or my personal favorite, scrambled eggs and cheese.
2. Ditch the Empty Carbs
Empty carbohydrates are foods that have a lot of sugar but not much protein or fiber. White bread, sweetened cereal, waffles, muffins and fruit juice are a few examples. Don’t even get me started on crimes against your metabolism like candy bars and sugar-packed “granola” bars.
Many people think these foods are a pick-me-up, but they ironically have the opposite effect — making you feel sluggish, sleepy and unmotivated. Empty carbs mess up your blood sugar levels. They flood your bloodstream with glucose, giving you a sugar high followed by a massive crash that turns afternoons into an impossible slog.
3. Stop With Fast-Food Lunches Already
Greasy, fatty foods kill energy levels. Your engine goes from finishing projects at 100 mph to struggling to remember things and wanting to sleep the rest of the day. Fast-food lunches with burgers, fries and soft drinks are the worst. I’m not exaggerating — they’re the worst thing you can eat for healthy energy levels.
4. Get Your Blood Pumping
Any kind of physical exercise helps your metabolism get into gear. When your heart beats faster, your brain and muscles get more oxygen — more fuel. Even a brief workout can get rid of stress, improve your concentration, help you feel more energized and wake you up.
5. Spend Time in the Sun
Sunlight energizes you and tells your brain that this is “awake time,” not “sleepy time.” If you’re starting to feel sleepy in the afternoon, take five minutes to go outside. Stretch, walk your dog, clear your head, pop in your headphones and listen to your favorite rock anthem, dance — have fun outdoors!
6. Snack on Protein
The best breakfasts, lunches and snacks have something in common: protein. Foods with protein are amazing for energy because they provide fuel for hours instead of releasing it all at once.
Plus, high-protein foods are easy to eat on the go. Don’t believe me? Check out this list:
Chicken breast, fish and turkey
Milk, cheese and Greek yogurt
Almonds (and other nuts)
Fresh fruit and veggies with plenty of fiber are great for a slow-release energy boost, too:
Snacking when you’re hungry is a good idea. Along with staying hydrated, it’s a way to keep giving your brain the fuel it needs. Healthy snacks can help you stay alert, energized and excited about what you’re doing.