Everyone knows the afternoon slump—that dreaded drop in energy that happens towards the end of the workday.
It can leave you feeling lethargic and unable to focus, but tweaking your diet can help to alleviate your fatigue.
“Eating the wrong things throughout the day can really put a drain on your energy,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD. “Choosing the right types of foods (avoid this food if you don’t want extra body fat) is key for beating the afternoon slump.”
Another way of beating the afternoon slump is with a workout from Aaptiv. Check out the workouts we’ve just released.
To make sure that you stay alert and productive, try these healthy eating habits that can help you avoid the afternoon slump.
Eat a balanced breakfast.
We understand that mornings can be hectic, but don’t skip breakfast; doing so can mess with your energy levels later in the day.
To avoid the afternoon slump, you’ll want to eat a breakfast that has balanced nutrients. “You want something that has healthy carbs, protein, and fiber, like oatmeal, a veggie omelet, or yogurt with fruit and nuts,” says Rizzo.
“Eating a healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism (make sure to avoid these foods), feed your brain, and give you good, long-lasting energy for the day.”
Drink a lot of water.
Staying hydrated is essential for avoiding the afternoon slump. Even just mild dehydration can cause fatigue, moodiness, and problems concentrating.
“Drink a lot of water,” says Mascha Davis MPH, RD. If you aren’t peeing every few hours, you likely aren’t drinking enough.
Keep a water bottle at your desk, and eat foods that help you stay hydrated, like cucumbers and cantaloupe.
Eat a protein-filled lunch.
Since the afternoon slump generally hits after lunch, it’s important to carefully choose your menu for this important meal.
“A great lunch suggestion is something that has protein and veggies, like a lentil or bean-based soup,” says Rizzo.
“Eat some fruits and veggies, which are packed with energizing vitamins and minerals.” Avoid foods that are high in fat, sodium, or sugar; they can make you feel uncomfortable, bloated, and sleepy, she adds.
Move around during your break.
Rather than sitting and eating at your desk, get up and eat your lunch somewhere else, or take a walk around the block.
“Avoid the heavy desk lunch and just sitting there,” suggests Rizzo. “The food sits in your stomach and can make you feel heavy and tired. Go for a walk with your dog or a co-worker.”
In fact, working out during your lunch break can make you more productive.
Have a fiber-filled snack.
“Snacking is actually an important part of your day. The right snack will keep you full and energized until dinner,” explains Rizzo.
However, don’t just head to the vending machine and pop out a candy bar; make sure that you’re choosing the right type of snack that won’t contribute to a crash.
“Just like [at] mealtime, a snack should have fiber and protein to keep you full until your next meal,” she says. Opt for something like roasted chickpeas or nuts.
Drink some tea.
Rather than reaching for that second cup of coffee—and find yourself tossing and turning all night—go for a cup of tea, instead.
“An afternoon green tea not only has a slight caffeine boost, but it also contains antioxidants to give a slight energy boost,” says Rizzo. “Plus, it will help keep you hydrated, so you don’t fatigue.”