How to avoid the afternoon energy slump

April 20, 2016

Nutritional Therapist, Bernadette Keogh

Nutritional Therapist, Bernadette Keogh

We’ve all experienced the mid-afternoon slump. An hour or so after lunch, our energy levels plummet, and in our desperation to pick them back up again, we reach for the nearest hit of caffeine or sugar.

There are of course better ways to get going that don’t involve coffee or biscuits (we’ll get on to this) but there are things you can do to prevent the crash from happening in the first place.

Nutritional Therapist, Bernadette Keogh, from the College of Naturopathic Medicine, says the secret to keeping your energy levels stable, is to balance your blood glucose levels throughout the day by organising your general diet (in this case breakfast and lunch) as follows:

  • Choose low glycaemic index (GI) foods that release energy slowly into the bloodstream, e.g. brown rice, jumbo oats, sweet potato, legumes and plenty of vegetables.
  • Avoid high GI foods such as sugar (cakes, biscuits, chocolate) and refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta. They cause energy levels to spike then slump, which will make you feel even worse than before.
  • Add a portion of protein to each meal e.g. chicken, turkey or eggs, fermented tofu or fish. The protein will further slow the energy release.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks, including diet drinks. Sweeteners have the same effect on blood glucose as sugar.
  • Opt for a caffeine free herbal tea instead of coffee or black tea. Caffeine causes blood sugar to rise by stimulating the release of adrenaline.

If you want to snack on something, make it a balanced choice. Bernadette recommends:

  • A boiled egg with a handful of spinach
  • Oat cakes with a natural nut butter (such as almond)
  • Raw vegetable sticks with hummus

See our Healthy snack recipes

Find out more about the CNM here

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