You know that mid-afternoon crash you feel an hour or so after eating lunch?
That’s when you start feeling a little bit woozy and maybe even as if you could fall asleep at your desk.
I’m going to outline three easy ways to help you avoid that dreaded afternoon slump.
When you take measures to find balance in your routine – eating for energy, avoiding extremes in blood sugar, and focusing instead on nourishing your brain – you will find your energy stays high through the day.
3 Tips to Avoid the Afternoon Slump
1. Ditch the Sugar and Caffeine
First and foremost, we want to avoid sugar and caffeine.
Essentially, they spike your blood sugar, causing it to rise. But shortly afterward, after insulin surges into your system to remove it from your blood, your blood sugar bottoms out.
That leaves you feeling tired and sleepy.
Caffeine does the same thing: It gives you an initial pick-me-up, because it stimulates your adrenal glands. In turn, that leads to even more breakdown of sugar in your blood, giving it the same effect as sugar with the resulting dip in energy.
Many people turn to beverages such as Red Bull and Coke as a pick-me-up.
That’s unfortunate because they’re not very good solutions.
A 20-ounce bottle of Coke contains 65 grams of sugar. Let’s multiply that by four, because there are four calories per gram of sugar. By drinking a bottle of Coke, you’ve taken in 260 calories in liquid and getting next to no nutrition in return.
I will give you a full disclosure about Red Bull.
A while ago I was in California and and we arrived late at night. We still had about two hours to drive to where we were staying.
Because I’m from the East Coast, my body was operating as if I was in a different time zone – I was three hours ahead, so my body thought it was 2 a.m.
I was literally falling asleep at the wheel because I was so tired.
In order to save myself and my family, I had to pull over at a gas station, and, yes, I caved in and got a Red Bull.
Did it work? Sure, it worked; it kept me awake at the wheel for about another hour, and we were able to safely get to our destination.
It’s the only time I’ve ever used Red Bull in the past decade. I would probably never use it again – but I thought I should tell you this in full disclosure.
What should you use instead?
2. Eat (or Drink) Your Greens
The number one thing you can do to boost your energy is to incorporate more greens into your overall diet.
ACV & Greens Detox Salad
If you’ve been eating too many foods like breads, pastas, cereals, or heavy meals, your blood can become very sluggish because it becomes more acidic.
Understand that when you eat more vegetables, more plant-based foods, the quality of your blood improves.
If your blood is able to flow freely, then the oxygen in your blood is able to get to your cells, and that’s how you produce energy. Getting more greens into your diet is really important for many reasons, just one of them being avoiding the afternoon lull.
If you don’t have access to fresh greens for salads, juices, or smoothies, the next best thing you can do is use a greens powder, like the one I’ve created, called Yuri Elkaim’s Energy Greens.
This is a combination of eight awesome superfoods that you can stir into water and enjoy as a refreshing drink. We formulated this specifically to be the tastiest, most premium-quality greens powder you will ever find.
Nonetheless, even if you’re using your own greens powder, the whole idea is that you want to have this in the afternoon – or a green juice or green smoothie – instead of sugary, caffeinated drinks.
We want to energize through nourishment as opposed to energizing through stimulation, which is what most people do.
3. Snack on Healthy Fats and Protein
Another thing you can do to beat the mid-afternoon slump is to add more healthy fat and protein to your diet.
Walnuts are a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the health of your heart and for your brain. A little tip: Anything that’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.
Photo of a walnut on the left and a brain on the right.
Did you ever notice that when you look at a whole walnut, it looks like your brain? That’s indication that it’s actually good for your brain.
The other benefit of walnuts is that they are a good source of protein.
The omega-3 fatty acids and the protein will help stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t have feel that energy crash.
Another option would be almonds. Almonds are an even better source of protein than walnuts, and they’re a very good source of vitamin E.
Grab the Good Stuff, Avoid the Bad Stuff
The whole idea is that, in the afternoon, after you’ve had your lunch and are feeling a little bit tired, you avoid foods and drinks containing caffeine and sugar.
And instead, reach for some type of greens – a greens powder or a greens juice – as well as very small amounts of protein in the form of almonds or walnuts.
That’s a simple way to avoid the crash.
If you’re addicted to sugar and caffeine, yes, you’re going to feel crappy the first couple days you go without them.
But as you recalibrate your body with more of this awesome stuff, you will no longer feel the mid-afternoon slump.
Raise the Roof on Energy
No matter how tired you feel, your body can bounce back to life when you apply these 3 uncommon energy-boosting strategies. You can them for FREE right now in my Double Your Energy guide. Click the banner for instant download!
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.