If you are like many of us productivity in a day can take a big hit at around the 3pm mark. Suddenly the muffin in the kitchen becomes hard to resist to boost your energy and get through the rest of the day. This hits your body in many not so good ways including a short-term energy hit leaving you coming back for more soon after. This extra energy in your regular routine can make eating for a healthy weight very difficult. This daily spiral does not need to be your fate, try these strategies and feel good throughout the day without hitting the wall at 3pm and making a sometimes food or drink a regular part of your day.
- Eat a balanced breakfast.
Eating breakfast can be a challenge for many without having to add extra considerations of how to make it healthy. Before you bypass this step think about why you eat. Eating is for pleasure but sometimes we forget it is also for love and respect of your body. Without giving your body the fuel it needs at the start of the day it not being shown the respect it needs to function well. Just like you would not let your pet suffer by not feeding it why does your body not deserve the same respect? If you need to schedule this time in like an appointment until it becomes second nature. It does take time to develop new routines, but this is one which will keep your mind happy for the afternoon 3pm danger period. Why? When you finally become hungry enough to eat your environment may not be optimal for healthy choices and you don’t care about what you eat if you eat something (not a good mix). Here are some balanced breakfast suggestions:
- ½ cup of oats + 200g low fat yogurt + 1 cup of berries
- 2 Weetabix + banana + 250mls low fat milk
- 2 pieces of wholegrain toast + 1 tablespoon of 100% peanut butter + 1.5 tablespoons of sultanas
- Smoothie: 250mls low fat milk + 1-2 pieces of fruit like a banana + 1 cup of berries + 200g yogurt + cinnamon
- 2 pieces of wholegrain toast + ½ avocado + 1 cup of ricotta or cottage cheese
- 2 pieces of wholegrain toast + 2 large eggs + 1 cup of cooked spinach/mushrooms/grilled tomato
- Stay Hydrated.
It is difficult for your brain to distinguish between hunger and thirst and many people overeat when they should be reaching for a cup of water. Your body is affected by as little as 1% dehydration when it comes to concentration. Try drinking at least 8 cups of water, tea or coffee (yes this can count but be mindful of the added sugars, syrups and milk which can up the energy). If you are exercising you need more than this and for every hour try adding 500-800mls of water. To make sure you drink enough try carrying around a water bottle and have it visible when you are at your desk if possible to remind yourself to drink.
- Remember to pack lunch!
Eating out can be a disaster. The choices available may be high in the unhealthy fats, salt and sugar which will leave you feeling sluggish shortly after eating. The solution is remembering to pack your lunch. You do not need to be a MasterChef to have a healthy and delicious lunch. There is nothing wrong with a sandwich but if this is getting boring taking leftovers from last night’s dinner can be another option. Remember these key points to a healthy lunch.
- Select a wholegrain (wholegrain bread, rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa)
- Choose a lean protein (fish, eggs, tofu, beans, lean meat like turkey breast or chicken and try to remove all excess fat and skin)
- Make half the meal a rainbow of vegetables. The more colours mean the more antioxidants and nutrients you are giving your body.
- Flavour with herbs and spices rather than salt and sauces full of added sugar.
- Snack if you need to.
If you are someone why needs to eat every 2-3 hours to stay sane snacking can be a healthy choice for you. The key is snacking on foods which will help you make it to the next time your body normally needs to eat without reaching for the chocolate bar. Here are some choices to try:
- 200g low fat yogurt + small handful of no added salt nuts (30g)
- Apple + 1 tablespoon of 100% peanut butter
- Cut up vegetable sticks (carrot, celery, cucumber, capsicum) + hummus
- 1-2 Weetabix + 150mls low fat milk + half a banana
- Get up!
Hitting the slump can mean you have been sitting sedentary for way too long. Grab your water bottle and take a walk. A great idea can be starting your own walking group at work and make this a time where staff leave the work desk and move. It will increase your productivity and alertness much more than drinking another cup of coffee will.
Take home message: You CAN beat the 3pm slump demon, these 5 tips will give your body the energy it needs to feel good throughout the entire day and who doesn’t want to get the most out of life?