It's that time of the day AGAIN! It happens around the same time each day and you still find yourself surprised when it occurs. You know what time of the day I'm referring to: the late afternoon slump.
The time of the day where you look at the clock and can't help but groan in despair. That time of the day when it seems like an hour has passed but it has only been 2 minutes. That time of the day when you have to use every ounce of your strength just to stay awake.
You get the point.
So what do most of us do when we hit the late afternoon slump? We reach for a cup of coffee or a can of soda. We may even dig in our pockets and pull out spare change to make a pit stop at the office vending machine for a candy bar or two.
While these options: the coffee and candy bar, give us a quick burst of energy, they do little to stabilize our blood sugar and prevent the inevitable crash to come mere hours later.
What causes the afternoon slump?
The afternoon slump also known as reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia occurs when your body produces too much insulin in response to a high sugar or carbohydrate meal.
When you have a large carbohydrate meal or a sugary snack, like a candy bar, it is broken down rather quickly and enters your blood stream.
When the broken down sugars, or glucose, enters your bloodstream, your pancreas secretes insulin in response. Insulin is a necessary hormone produced and secreted by the beta cells of your pancreas.
Its primary purpose is to take the sugar (blood glucose) from your bloodstream and transport it into your cells. High sugar snacks usually cause a large influx of insulin to be secreted. This larger than intended amount of insulin causes more glucose than intended to be stored away in your cells.
The amount of glucose in your blood stream (your blood sugar) drops quickly and you find yourself feeling lethargic and fatigued. You reach for a sugary snack to increase your energy and the cycle of over secretion of insulin and low blood sugar continues.
This cycle can increase the chances of developing diabetes.
As if huge insulin spikes and blood sugar lows weren't bad enough, unhealthy snacks, like candy bars and soda, add unwanted inches to the waistline. (And who wants that?)
So if you find yourself reaching for a sugary laden snack at 2pm, when you fill like you just can't keep your eyes open, try one of these 3 snacks instead and see a boost in energy and an end to the late afternoon slump.
1. Cottage Cheese
Who doesn't love cottage cheese?
(If you don't, then let me know in the comments).
I just can't understand how anyone could hate this stuff!
Cottage cheese is the perfect snack to get you through an afternoon slump.
Why? It is a great source of protein which will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Stable blood glucose levels means less insulin secretion and therefore less fatigue and irritability later on.
As well as a being a great protein source, cottage cheese is also filled with some pretty awesome nutrients like calcium, magnesium and B-12.
Plus it is very versatile! You can pair it with an apple or a peach as well if you want. If you do choose to have your cottage cheese with fruit, then make sure that it is whole fresh fruit, not the sugary processed fruit that comes in cans or plastic cups.
This will decrease your chance of having any unnecessary blood sugar spikes.
2.Guacamole and Sliced Raw Red Cabbage
Avacados are a gift from God Himself! (At least that's the way I feel). Guacamole is such an awesome versatile snack filled with nutrients that you just can't go wrong!
A serving of guacamole isn't very heavy on the protein but it is heavy on good fat.
The fat found in avocados is monounsaturated fat which means that there is a single carbon to carbon double bond. Monounsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature and are abundant in diets like the Mediterranean diet.
Monounsaturated fats are not only heart healthy they are filling. Fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrates which means that you will feel fuller for a longer amount of time. Add in some colorful crunchy red cabbage and you just can't lose!
Red cabbage may have a bit more carbs than the other snacks we've discussed so far but it just can't be beat when it comes to the amounts of nutrients it offers. Red cabbage is full of vitamins A and C.
It also has a healthy dose of vitamin B-6 and when used as a replacement for chips and topped with guacamole, the crunch is an unparalleled delight!
3. Shredded Baked Chicken with Mayo, Tomato and Fresh Spinach on Seed Crackers
This last snack, or mini-lunch (call it what you like) is a sure bet to get you through the afternoon slump in style.
This chicken salad is not only easy to make but easy to enjoy. With it's contrasting greens and reds, the colors themselves are sure to perk you up.
Just take some shredded chicken, that has been baked, and mix with a small diced tomato, and tablespoon and a half of mayo and a half cup of fresh spinach. Voila!
You know have a healthy fulfilling snack!
Add in a handful of seed crackers and you're well on your way to a day without an afternoon slump!
One important note: A less than adequate water intake can add to (or even be the cause of) your afternoon slump. If you find yourself yawning and unable to concentrate after lunchtime, reach for a tall glass of water instead of a coffee.
You might even find yourself more focused as a result.
The next time you find yourself in an afternoon slump, try reaching for one of these healthy snacks instead of that candy bar.
Your body will thank you!
Your turn! What easy healthy snacks are your go to snacks to beat the afternoon slump? Let me know in the comments!