5 Foolproof Tips From A Dietitian For Beating The Afternoon Crash

by Caroline Burke

The afternoon crash can ruin your entire day if it hits you hard enough. You know the feeling: You're having a perfectly productive day, checking things off your to-do list left and right, and then 2 p.m. rolls around. All of a sudden, your eyelids are lowering, your gaze is going blurry, and each of your limbs feels heavier than a cinderblock. Once that lethargy strikes, it's a daunting feeling to figure out how to beat the afternoon slump.

Trust me, you're not alone in this struggle. In fact, there are multiple reasons why you feel like you're about to start snoring around the same time every afternoon. For one, your circadian rhythm leads you to feel most tired around 3 a.m., and then again at about 3 p.m. In addition, your blood sugar levels are usually taking a hit as your body works to digest whatever you ate for lunch. This is especially true if you're eating a high-carbohydrate meal: Your insulin levels will spike, then your blood sugar levels will plummet, and this will leave you feeling like you're sleeping even if you're standing up.

But there are ways you can plan for a boost of energy right around the time your eyes start to glaze over. Overall, the best thing you can do is to work on smart eating and basic hydration.

From a berry-packed smoothie to cottage cheese and almonds, you're looking for snacks that have just the right combination of protein, calories, and overall deliciousness. Foods like this will fill you up without making you want to rest your head against the keyboard and doze off. After all, the moment you pass out onto your pile of sticky notes is probably going to be the one time your boss stops by your desk.

There are several ways to keep your energy up once you accept that that big bowl of cheesy, Alfredo pasta probably isn't the best choice for a work lunch. Here are a few things to consider the next time the afternoon slump strikes.

Have A Game Plan

Taking a few extra minutes to map out your meals can save you time, money, and energy. Otherwise, you're resigned to running out of the office to find food, which will only leave you feeling desperately hungry and frazzled by the time you get it.

Elite Daily spoke with registered dietitian and fitness professional Jim White, who explains how you can plan ahead to avoid that 3 p.m. crash:

Save yourself the hassle and plan ahead. Pre-pack your snacks ahead of time so that you can easily grab-and-go when you’re in need of a midday pick-me-up.
Pack Your Snacks With Protein

Snack options with lots of protein will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, and they'll be more satisfying overall to eat.

White suggests,

A snack that incorporates protein, like one ounce of almonds, boasts six grams of protein and is easy to pack and snack.
Add in a small piece of fruit and you’ll bypass that midday slump, and conquer your to-do’s before the day is done.
Stay Hydrated

Say it with me: Water is your best friend. You've probably heard it more times than you've ever cared to, but seriously, drinking more water is the easiest way to keep your energy and focus up throughout the day.

White tells Elite Daily,

Aim for at least eight cups of water a day or more depending on your activity level.
Water is so easy to keep on-hand throughout the day as well, so no matter how busy you are, there is no excuse!
Get Moving

You might feel dead at around 2 or 3 p.m. because you've been sitting on your butt for literal hours by that point. The simple act of standing up, and maybe even incorporating some light exercise or stretching will help send blood flowing throughout your body again.

White suggests a few different types of midday movement:

If you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, go for a brisk walk, do some lunges to the copy room, or just step outside for some sunshine.
Opt For Several Small Meals Rather Than Fewer Big Meals Throughout The Day

Yes, we're basically giving you an excuse to eat more — sort of. White tells Elite Daily that eating several small meals throughout the day is actually a much better strategy in terms of sustaining energy than eating fewer, more massive meals, which tend to just leave you borderline comatose while you digest.

Although eating five or six meals a day might take a bit more planning on your end, eating small meals helps boost your metabolism and energy throughout the day.

Now get your head off your keyboard and at least pretend to look busy!