The three o' clock hour hits. Just two hours left of work to meet a pressing deadline and meet with an unsatisfied client. Or maybe you've been running errands all days, picking up the house, and preparing for a family weekend getaway and didn't make time for lunch. You can make it, if you have a little pick me up of sugar and caffeine. A short walk to the vending machine or drive through Starbuck's will cure that!
The afternoon slump can be a hard thing to get past and for many people a frequent cause for slipping up with healthy eating. Even if you eat balanced healthy meals the rest of the day, the mid-afternoon splurge can sabotage goals and create a cycle of needing a jolt every day. Sure, you get a surge in energy from a soda and candy bar or yummy coffee drink and pastry but it's short-lived and may leave you feeling even more drained a few hours later. Here are a few tips on how to make it through the afternoon slump to finish your day strong:
1. Eat a well-balanced breakfast with fiber and protein - How does eating breakfast affect your energy in the afternoon? Quite a bit, actually. People who eat a solid breakfast have more consistent energy levels throughout the day and are less hungry later in the day. Oatmeal with nuts and berries, an egg with whole grain toast, or Greek yogurt sprinkled chopped almonds and fruit are a few breakfast options to keep you going.
2. Break for lunch Going long periods of time without eating makes it hard for even the most disciplined eater to make healthy choices. Skipping lunch or going more than six hours (less for some people) without eating leads to a drop in blood sugar and energy, which makes your body want to grab anything available that has quick energy, usually in the form of refined carbs like candy, sweets, chips, and soda.
3. Plan to have a healthy snack Just like a balanced breakfast helps keep your energy levels consistent, having a healthy mid-afternoon snack can hold you over until dinner, preventing you from overeating or grabbing a soda and candy bar. Try carrots with string cheese, an apple with peanut butter, or hummus with raw veggies.
4. Take a short break - Even a break as short as five minutes to take a walk, do light stretching, or close your eyes and just breathe helps release relaxing hormones to ease stress and increase energy. Schedule it as an appointment or meeting in your calendar and don't skip it.
5. Catch 6-8 hours of Zzzz's - Getting adequate restful sleep helps regulate your appetite and metabolism. Even one night of less than six hours of sleep can increase your desire for foods high in fat and sugar and make you feel hungrier than normal. It's your body's way of making up for the lack of energy due to not enough shuteye.
Tired of dieting and not getting results? Sign up now for your free copy of Your Last Diet e-book at http://plateshaper.com. Erin Kuh, registered dietitian, nutrition coach, and owner of The Plate Shaper, and is dedicated to helping you redesign the way you eat for permanent results.
By Erin Kuh
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