Lunch serves as the grand break in the middle of the day, a time for socializing and relaxing a bit after the buzz of morning activity. Returning to work after this meal, however, often leaves you drowsy and lagging, even counting the minutes until you leave.
Avoid the afternoon stupor with a few tips for energized eating and make the most of your after lunch hours.
Look to Your Lunch
After a long morning, you will feel physically and mentally drained, leading to poor meal choices that won’t help you in the afternoon, either. Consider these options ahead of time to improve your day.
- Graze in the morning to avoid gorging at mealtime, don’t let your blood sugar get low enough to lead to unhealthy choices
- Choose low-carb, high protein combinations for lunch, giving you sustained energy without the crash
- Eat small lunches, as larger meals take more effort to digest, diverting oxygen and nutrition away from your brain in the meantime.
- Try to avoid sugar and flour: these foods take the insulin prompted by increased blood sugar and converts it to serotonin in your brain, making you sleepy
- Have healthy snacks handy to make good choices easier: fruit, for instance, has vital nutrients and antioxidants that improve memory, enhance mood and increase curiosity, motivation, and engagement.
Breakfast is Best
Eating a healthy breakfast will give you sustained energy throughout the whole day and keep you from feeling starved at lunch, increasing your physical and mental well-being. Nutrient dense foods and cereals full of vitamins can be some of your biggest supporters first thing in the morning.
When you don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep, it catches up with you right as your digestive system is trying to do its job, affecting your energy as well. Don’t short yourself on sleep, particularly when you know you have a busy afternoon on the horizon.
Whatever the morning and lunchtime has brought, remember these tips to save your afternoon:
- Resist the urge to use caffeine for an energy boost, as increased use will give you diminishing returns. Instead, drink lots of water and non-caffeinated drinks to keep you hydrated.
- Snack on healthy treats to boost your energy, avoid energy downers like processed sugars.
- Before returning to your afternoon tasks, take a short walk, do some stretches or climb a flight of stairs back to your desk. A little light exercise is a great way to recharge after eating.
If you still find yourself fading after lunch, take notes on what you are eating and how they affect your mood and energy later in the day. Figure out ways that work best for you to beat the after lunch decline.
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