Are you always tired after eating lunch? It may be what you are (or aren’t eating) that’s causing your body and brain to slow down. Try these tweaks to your midday routine and avoid the classic afternoon crash.
Carbohydrates always break down to sugar no matter how you slice it. What goes up must come down, and a fast spike in blood sugar will come crashing down. Limit your carbohydrates to little or none at lunch time to avoid that sleepy low energy feeling later in the day.
Instead of reaching for a sandwich or a slice of pizza try creating a lunch option that contains the following:
Leaner proteins (chicken, tuna or lentils) are essential and will keep you full. Avoid red meats that are high in saturated fat or deli meats that tend to be higher in sodium. Aim for your protein to be 1/3 of your lunch to help cut afternoon cravings.
Fiber keeps you full! Vegetables, berries and beans will all keep you feeling full longer. This leads to less snacking, less calories, and weight maintenance. Lower cholesterol and stable blood sugar are an added bonus.
Ditch the boring iceberg lettuce salad. Vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are a better option. The protein and fiber will keep you full and you won’t be reaching for a snack in a couple hours. Plus, you are getting extra nutrients (folate, potassium, vitamin C to name a few.)
Healthy fats (avocados, nuts and seeds) will also help you avoid the vending machine at 3pm. You could top a salad with slivered almonds, use some nut butter on a slice of whole grain bread, or just a handful of walnuts or pistachios should do the trick!
When you skip lunch your hunger pains kick into high gear by late afternoon. When this happens we gravitate toward the salty or sweet processed snacks (think chips and cookies) for a quick fix. Once you have finally sat down to dinner, lunch skippers tend to be so hungry they over eat. This can result in consistently eating more calories than if you just ate a balanced meal earlier in the day!
Following these simple guidelines will not only help you keep a balanced diet, you will avoid “the crash” your body feels when it is not properly energized. As a result you probably won’t need that afternoon coffee and will most likely sleep better. Also, skipping that afternoon sugary snack will help you get closer to your heath and fitness goals!