Yes, yes, we have all been there: the dreaded afternoon slump. You just had a big lunch, it’s now 3pm, and you are trying so hard to keep your eyes open. Instinctively, you may reach for a cup of strong coffee, a bag of lollies or chips, or perhaps a can of sugary energy drink to power you through.
But the truth is, these foods do more harm than good - too much caffeine delivers the exact opposite of energy jolt, while highly processed carbohydrates in chips, sweet drinks, and lollies will cause your blood sugar to spike. This will eventually lead your blood sugar to crash, causing you to feel tired, moody, and craving for even more junk food. If you keep doing this mindless habit everytime you feel sluggish, you may have to say goodbye to your lean and toned body!
The key is to find food that keeps you full and satiated, as well as steadily fuelled for many hours. Try minimising your blood sugar spike by consuming a combination of snacks that are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, which will slowly release energy into your bloodstream. Protein-rich foods are effective at improving concentration and focus while keeping you satisfied at the same time. Meanwhile, fiber and complex carbohydrates are digested slower in your system, hence keeping you fuller for longer.
So, which pantry staples should you stock up to keep you going all day long? Here are 5 healthy snack recommendations according to dieticians and nutrition experts:
Bananas are one of the best foods for energy and is a foolproof energy booster due to their high content of natural sugars - fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Moreover, they are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6, all of which are nutrients that promote sustained energy and muscle functions. Bananas are particularly appealing as a pre or post-workout snack, and one study has even found that eating a banana is just as effective as a carbohydrate drink before an intense exercise. Pair your banana with a glass of low-fat milk, a cup of greek yoghurt, or almond butter for an extra protein boost.
You know what they say about an apple a day keeping the doctor away, but do you know that it can also keep your fatigue away? Apple contains important vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, and their rich content of natural sugars can provide a slow, sustained energy release to get you through the rest of the day. Furthermore, apples have a high fiber and antioxidant content, which has the ability to slow the digestion of carbohydrates in our body so that the energy is released over an extended period of time. For a healthy yet tasty snack, eat your sliced apple with a dollop of nut butter.
Oatmeal is a whole-grain cereal containing beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that delays stomach emptying and provides you with long-lasting energy. Furthermore, oats are rich in other forms of nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, and manganese. In addition, steel-cut oats are made by passing the whole grain through steel blades. This helps the oats to retain more fiber and protein when compared to the more processed instant and old-fashioned oats. So, always opt for steel-cut oats rather than processed oats in order to reap as many benefits from this wonderful grain.
Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon are great due to their high protein content, which promotes satiety and helps your body to build and retain muscle. They are loaded with B vitamins, particularly B12 which naturally helps boost energy and fight fatigue. Moreover, you can also benefit from their high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which lowers your cholesterol level and reduces your risk of heart disease. This wonderful nutrient provides a mood-boosting effect and has been found to reduce depression, hence their reputation as “brain food”.
Similar to the fatty fish, cottage cheese is jam-packed with vitamin B12 which gives you the energy boost to power through your mid-afternoon slump. As mentioned before, this vitamin naturally boosts your energy levels and fights fatigue, hence you can avoid the need to reach for that strong cuppa. The next time you find yourself fading in the office, snack on a large scoop of cottage cheese with cucumber or cantaloupe for a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
There you have it, five powerful yet tasty snacks that are perfect for your mid-afternoon fix. Aside from helping you to stay awake for the rest of the day, these healthy snacks will help you to stay toned and fit. If you want to achieve the perfect strong figure, be sure to activate your glutes by incorporating strength training with resistance bands into your next workout schedule. Looking for fitness bands to work out with? Get your Peach Builder booty bands now and start working towards your body goals today.