If you find yourself yawning and feeling more than a little tired after lunch you are not alone–according to the National Sleep Foundation, 20 percent of Americans experience considerable fatigue at work. Mid-day lethargy can be caused by a variety of factors and some of the most common includes: consuming too much caffeine or sugar earlier in the day, not eating enough fruits and vegetables or healthy food, eating a diet that is too low in calories, experiencing chronic high stress levels, and not getting enough sleep. Some perfectly healthy people also experience midday fatigue, and this occurs simply because our bodies are programmed to release a small amount of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin between the hours of 2pm and 4pm. Luckily there is a simple solution — if you want to prevent the mid-day slump all you have to do is add one of the following snacks to your afternoon regime.
Healthy Food – Not Just Fruits and Vegetables, Either
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are loaded with healthy fats to fuel your brain, fiber to balance your blood sugar and satisfy your appetite, and vitamins to keep you healthy and energized, and it doesn’t hurt that they are delicious! Although they are nutritional powerhouses, nuts and seeds are notoriously high in calories, so it is best to limit your intake to one ounce per day.
Organic Yogurt and Unsweetened Granola
Mixing yogurt with unsweetened granola is a perfect midday snack – the yogurt provides protein and probiotics (which scientists are now linking to both physical and mental health), and the granola provides complex carbohydrates which will provide your brain with an extended source of fuel. Just be sure to choose organic yogurt because the regular stuff is often loaded with artificial ingredients, as well as hormone and antibiotic residues. Also, keep your serving of granola small because similar to nuts and seeds, granola is very calorie dense.
Fruits and Vegetables
Although all fruits and vegetables fall into the healthy food category, some are more energizing than others. Fruits such as apples, oranges, kiwis, guavas and berries; and deep orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots are ideal for a midday snack because they provide your brain with healthy sugars and your body with the energy boosting vitamin- vitamin C.
Brown Rice Wrapped in Seaweed
Brown rice is a good source of fiber and minerals and the carbohydrates in it provide your body with a natural source of energy to get you through the day. Adding seaweed will enhance the energy boosting effect because seaweed contains a healthy dose of iron and B-vitamins, both of which energize the body and the brain, and it also contains iodine which nourishes the thyroid (an organ that plays a starring role in energy production.) As an added bonus both brown rice and seaweed are low in calories, making this combination ideal for weight loss.
Last but certainly not least is the microalgae Spirulina. Spirulina is loaded with antioxidants, protein, iron and vitamin C—all of which help to boost energy levels. It is most often sold in powdered form at health food stores, and all you have to do is add some water and drink up.
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