It is just past 4pm here in Seattle and I am yawning…Are you?
Put down that shot of espresso and muffin – they aren’t going to help you! I’ve been burning the candle at both ends as I get my new life up and running here which is exhilarating – but exhausting. I know how tiring it is to work long and hard hours plus keep up with the social and familial demands of modern life. Most often when we feel the afternoon slump, our resourceful critter brains will steer us in the direction of a quick “pick-me-up” but if we aren’t careful, the very thing we reach for to have a boost may be the very thing robbing us of true energy.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly half of Americans 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 eating high carbohydrate foods, too much insulin is released in an effort 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… It makes me yawn just thinking about it!
Enter snacks. Now, ideally we are all eating a big enough and nutritious enough lunch that we are not hungry again until dinner… But I know that with the rushing around of modern life and short lunch breaks that often get used for running errands rather than eating properly – that isn’t always possible. While I do not recommend snacking unless truly, truly hungry, the properly chosen snack might just be the 150-200 calories you need to bridge the gap until dinner and keep your blood sugar level stable so you aren’t tempted to reach for the quickest sugar or caffeine fix you can find. Snacks can also be 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 the slump and make it until dinner with your inner glow (and sanity) in tow! Here is a list of my top ten snacks to beat the 4pm slump.
10 Top Snacks to Remedy the Afternoon Slump
- A small 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.
- ¼ – ½ avocado and a slice of tomato on a piece of sprouted Ezekiel toast with a dash of salt and fresh lemon juice squeezed on top.
- ½ cup non-dairy coconut milk yogurt (or a lactose-free option) with 1 tbsp nut butter and a dash of cinnamon stirred in
- Green juice (my personal favorite!) – cucumber, kale, spinach, parsley, celery, lemon ginger, and (optional) coconut oil
- Smoothie – unsweetened almond milk, 2 handfuls organic spinach or other dark greens, ½ banana, 1 tbsp almond butter, vegan protein powder, vanilla, cinnamon, hemp seeds, maca powder/cacao powder, and (optional) ice blended until smooth
- 1 apple, sliced, with 1 tbsp nut butter
- Popcorn (homemade with coconut oil) with little sea salt
- Chopped fruit salad with fresh mint
- Nori seaweed, canned salmon/tuna, avocado, spinach, and cucumber wrap
I’d love to hear what whole food snacks you enjoy when you need a boost of energy to make it through the day!
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To your radiant health!