There’s a lady in my office that always, without fail, snags a Kit Kat bar from the vending machine every afternoon. She knows she isn’t making the best choice but she says the Kit Kat fulfills a sugar craving. Cravings can be hard to overcome. But, with some planning and experimentation, you can find some healthy snacks to beat those afternoon energy crashes.
Eating healthy snacks for afternoon energy crashes still elude me once in a while. Sometimes I feel genuine hunger while other times I want sugar. And, when a strong craving hits, it’s hard to choose the best snacks for afternoon energy crashes.
But, with a little preparation, you can stock your desk with healthy snacks for afternoon energy crashes. And avoid the Kit Kat in the vending machine! (Well, the occasional Kit Kat isn’t going to hurt.)
What Causes Afternoon Energy Crashes?
The afternoon energy crashes happen to the best of us. Many people report feeling lethargic and sleepy after lunch, between 1 and 3 PM.
Some of the main causes for an afternoon energy crash are:
- An unbalanced lunch (think, high carbs, low protein and fat, like most salads)
- Chronic stress and imbalanced cortisol levels
- Not sleeping well the night before
- Blood sugar imbalances
As you can see, nutrition has a role in most of our afternoon energy crashes! This means that choosing the most nutrient-dense foods the majority of the time will help avoid afternoon energy crashes and keep you looking and feeling your best all day long.
Snacks for Afternoon Energy Crashes
When you feel like crawling up into a ball and napping, you know it’s time to find a healthy, nutritious snack to boost energy and get you over that hurdle.
One of my favorite afternoon snacks to beat fatigue is a protein shake. I mix my favorite Fermented Vanilla Protein Powder with plain water and drink it up! My hunger is sated and I feel well enough to continue working. Sometimes I’ll make a protein shake with fruit, MCT oil and spinach, too, and bring it into work with me.
Another great afternoon snack is an energy bite or ‘fat bomb’. There are tons of great recipes available on the Internet, but a few delicious and super easy ones to make are:
(Look for energy bite or fat bomb recipes without wheat, dairy or refined sugar. If you want more inspiration, follow my Pinterest account!)
An apple with some all-natural nut butter can help satisfy a sugar craving and boost your energy, too.
Or, try a few veggies dipped in hummus.
The best snacks for afternoon energy crashes are essentially those that are high in protein and/or healthy fat, moderate or low in complex carbohydrates and completely free from refined and processed carbs and sugars.
So, next time you find that Kit Kat beckoning, eat a handful of nuts, have a protein shake or enjoy a piece of fruit with nut butter. You’ll be surprised how well these types of foods kill those cravings and boost your energy!
Boost Energy Naturally Without Food!
Of course, if you really don’t want to eat mid-afternoon, there are some great alternatives to food to help boost your energy.
Lately, I’ve been loving the effects of a greens powder to get me over the afternoon slump. My favorite is a Greens+ Extra Energy powder. It wakes me up like coffee but without the icky dehydrated feeling I sometimes get with caffeine.
Find a window or a space outside that’s filled with sunshine. Sit and soak up some rays for 20-30 minutes.
Go for a walk. Get your blood pumping and energy-boosting nutrients to your brain and heart by getting up from your desk.
Use essential oils. If you’re permitted, get an oil diffuser and use orange, peppermint, lemon or rosemary to give your senses a boost. Or, put a bit on a tissue and breathe it in every few minutes.
Brush your teeth. A fresh mouth might help wake you up because the act of brushing your teeth is associated with waking in the morning. And, minty toothpaste can stimulate your senses and wake you up too.
Buy a plant for your desk. Sometimes the stagnant office building air can make you feel super tired. A plant adds color and positive energy to your workspace. It also helps purify the air around you.
What are the best snacks for afternoon energy crashes?
Well, anything that is high in healthy protein and/or fats will help to increase alertness. Even though your cravings may entice you to reach for a Kit Kat, eating sugar or refined carbs in the afternoon will create more cortisol and blood sugar imbalances.
Make sure to get enough sleep every night to avoid afternoon energy crashes. Fuel your body with healthy fats and protein at lunch. If you always crash mid-afternoon, trying switching up your lunch macrobiotic ratios in favor of healthy fat. Add some nuts or a drizzle of oil to your meal. And, of course, make sure you begin your day right; avoid refined sugar and carbs at breakfast.