Undoubtedly most of us are too familiar with the 3pm slump when energy levels start to dive, concentration waivers and sugar cravings hit an all time high! It’s a daily struggle for some and can lead to poor productivity, mindless snacking on sugar for quick energy and not to mention a sense that everything seem a lot harder than it needs to be!
To help energise your way through the afternoon, here are some tips to follow:
- Check hydration: hydration can easily be mistaken for hunger and can also lead to loss of concentration. When energy starts to dip, drink a glass of water and see how much better you feel!
- Satisfying lunch: If your lunch is lacking, you will start to feel a drop in energy and increase in appetite only a few hours later. To help support stable energy into the afternoon, always include a source of protein (eg. eggs, chicken/meat, fish, legumes/lentils, dairy, nuts/seeds, tofu), good quality fats (eg avocado, olive oil, tahini, nuts/seeds) and complex carbs (rice, quinoa, brown rice pasta, multigrain bread, root vegetables) in your lunch.
- Movement: spending time in an outdoor green space such as a park or even your backyard is enough to help reduce our stress hormone cortisol and pick up mood. If feeling flat go for a quick power walk around the block or try a 10 minute yoga routine to get blood flowing.
When it comes to energising afternoon snacks, here are some simple ideas to have on hand:
Coconut Fruit Balls
These balls are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy fats sure to take the edge off sweet cravings.
Serves 20 balls
Time 15 – 20 minutes
6 dried figs, diced, hard stalk removed (organic or sulphur-free)
6 dried apricots (organic or sulphur-free)
½ cup sunflower seeds (optional)
3 tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil, melted
½ cup blueberries
1 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
½ tsp. fresh ginger, grated
Add a little water if needed to roll
Combine everything except the blueberries and half a cup of coconut in a food processor until coarse and slightly sticky, add a little water if needed.
Take a bit of the dough, put a blueberry in the centre, and form into a 2.5cm ball. Roll the ball in the remaining coconut to coat. Repeat. Place the coconut fruit balls in the refrigerator in an airtight container and eat when desired.
Other easy pick-me up snack ideas:
- Small magnesium rich cacao chia pudding, combine 1 tbsp. chia seeds, ¼ cup milk, 1-2 tsp. cacao and let sit for a few hours or overnight in in the fridge, top with fresh berries and crushed raw nuts
- Banana smoothie with added oats rich in B-vitamins for energy
- ¼ avocado with seed crackers or veg sticks
- 1 green apple with a handful of raw nuts or poached/baked apple with greek yoghurt
- Vitamin C rich vegetable juice combo such as carrot, ginger and lemon!
- Portion of cooked brown rice mixed with diced avocado and some salmon – a great option pre-workout
If your usual routine involves grabbing a coffee at 3pm but you all too soon find your energy levels flagging, here are some more sustaining alternatives to sip:
Turmeric Latte: turmeric contains the active compound curcumin, which is known for its potent antioxidant effects. Curcumin is also believed to exert an effect on neurotransmitters and help to balance mood.
Licorice root tea: licorice root tea is a great option to curb sweet cravings and help support a healthy stress hormone response. Regular consumption of licorice tea should be avoided in anyone with high blood pressure.
Green tea: whilst green tea does contain caffeine, it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. This means green tea provides a more sustaining form of energy without the highs and lows of regular caffeine.