A shot of espresso.
An extra hour of sleep.
An early morning gym session.
No matter how you begin your day, it always seems to take a 180 around 1 p.m. The laser focus and mental clarity from the morning are suddenly distant memories.
The only things keeping you awake are looming deadlines and a hovering boss.
But the midday slump doesn’t have to put your productivity and sanity on the backburner. These seven foods can keep you sharp and energized from 9-to-5.
The post-lunch fizzle is always right on time. But if your brain cells have a knack for “showing up late,” even an early morning Dunkin run will leave you floundering for hours. It’s time to seek a healthier jolt of energy that kicks in quickly — yogurt!
Yogurt is a traditional morning delicacy that holds the key to 9 a.m. meetings. Rich in easily digestible sugars and nutrients, a cup of low-fat yogurt is the perfect at-your-desk snack. Available in single-serving containers, making it your ideal deadline-hitting companion.
Now, it’s your turn to play chef!
Swirl in a scoop of granola for a crunchy surprise. Pile in berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or toss a cup of yogurt into your next morning shake concoction.
This next energy-boosting food might make you unpopular in the breakroom. If it means dodging the mid-afternoon blues and crusading through a pile of spreadsheets, though …
A delectable salmon lunch may be worth the potential stink eye!
Aside from its deliciously tender flakiness, grilled salmon is also our top “superfood” pick. It has disease-fighting antioxidants and energy-boosting vitamin Bs. Making salmon a tried-and-true contender when midday drowsiness rears its head.
The question is, “How will you prepare it?”
Grill up a filet and drizzle it with honey. Pair it with a side of delicious herb roasted potatoes. Or mix in your favorite savory flavors through a salmon stir fry.
Two things earn an unfair, negative reputation, and this high-energy food challenges both: Fats and snacking at your desk. All it takes is a handful of almonds to soothe your appetite ‘til lunch and get you through that project.
Now, the weight-loss benefits of almonds are creating a lot of buzz in the health food community. But its slump-busting vitamin E, magnesium, and riboflavin are even better. They’re basically a “cheat code” to reliable midday refuels and high-energy shifts.
It’s time to give this nutty treat a permanent spot in your desk drawer.
Splurge during the holidays with vanilla cinnamon candied almonds. Slather a tablespoon of almond butter onto a slice of wholewheat. Or even eat them plain.
Avocados are a staple in every health nut’s kitchen.
When your deadlines near, workloads pile up, or eight-hour shifts drag on — turn to these tropical delights. They’ll become your favorite energy drink alternative. All without the dreaded afternoon crash!
In the battle of “healthiest fruit,” avocados always take the cake.
And what’s not to love?
This popular fruit packs healthy fats and fiber, so you gain all-day energy and undeniable heart health benefits. Your newfound metabolism control will enable you to officially quit the vending machine life.
Stash an avocado in your lunch bag, or get creative.
Spread a thick layer of avocado on a slice of toast for an early morning fix. Toss avocado chunks into a healthy Caesar salad. Or make your world-famous guacamole.
If waking up before sunrise sounds like a horror film plot, join the club! But sleeping longer doesn’t have to mean skipping breakfast and facing that dreaded 1 p.m. crash.
Instead, grab America’s favorite pick-me-up as you walk out the door: A banana.
Bananas are a marathoner’s best friend … so there’s no doubt they’ll deliver a quick energy surge. The natural sugar can perk you up on the drive to the office, but it’s the fiber and vitamin B6 mixture that’ll keep you grinding like the Energizer bunny.
Not a fan of regular-old bananas early in the morning?
Drop a few banana slices into your whole-grain cereal. Try your hand at a delicious banana nut muffin recipe, or add banana slices into a custom fruit smoothie.
6. Peanut Butter
The traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the hallmark of a joyous childhood. Now, your favorite elementary school snack can also ignite your dwindling energy levels as you take on adult responsibilities.
A few scoops of peanut butter in the morning will keep you from falling victim to the midday blues. This calorie-dense, fiber-rich, niacin-filled treat can end unhealthy cravings in one flavorful scoop!
The best part is: The options are limitless.
Spread a spoonful onto a banana or an apple for a nutty kick. Make homemade peanut butter no-bake protein balls. Or add a few scoops into your chocolate protein shake.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Your coworkers seem to pack light when they bring lunch from home. If you want a filling lunchtime dish that satisfies your cravings and delivers a much-needed energy boost, look to sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes often hide in the shadows of regular potatoes — they should have the spotlight. These often-forgotten veggies pack vitamins B6, A, and C. That makes them an immune-boosting, slump-busting, vision-enhancing superfood.
And just like potatoes, there are a million ways to prepare them.
Bake them and slice them to create homemade sweet potato fries. Roast them as a side to bring out their natural sweetness. Or make them candied for the holidays.
A more balanced diet can certainly help you conquer your midday fatigue. But your diet might also be triggering some of that inescapable sluggishness!
Some of the worst energy-draining culprits are:
- Large amounts of sugar
- Processed foods
In other words, a complete nutritional overhaul is a must!
Begin phasing out these energy thieves and swapping in some energy boosters. Soon enough, you’ll notice you sleep better and wake up more refreshed.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech at Greenville to help them with their online marketing.