Afternoon Energy Boosters

We all know the feeling – the clock is creeping towards that mid-afternoon fatigue that seems to all of a sudden hit. Whether you are working, home with kids, or trying to accomplish something at home, most of my clients (including me!) feel it often. While it may seem like instinct to think, “No energy…must…get…caffeine,” is it really the best choice? Not always. While there is nothing wrong with a cup of coffee or tea at any time of the day, depending on your tolerance of caffeine, it is important to ask yourself these questions and properly take care of yourself depending on the answer: 

  1. Did I hydrate today? 
  2. Did I eat today? What did I eat? 
  3. Were my meals a combination of foods to provide me with energy? (protein, carbohydrates, fat) 
  4. Do I need a mental break? 
  5. Can I take a 20 minute nap? Is that realistic? How will that affect me later? 
  6. Do I need to move my body? 

In most cases, once you fully understand what your body needs, it is usually not more caffeine. While caffeine does increase alertness and provide a quick energy boost, more often than not – there are other issues (see above) that need to be addressed to properly nourish and energize your body. Here are some things you can do throughout the day and during that afternoon slump to help boost your energy: 

Stay hydrated: 

    • Flavored water
    • Use a fun cup
    • Drink seltzer if you prefer
    • Freeze fruit or fruit juice to make fun ice cubes that add flavor as they melt
    • Include fruits and veggies in your meals and snacks, they contain tons of water!
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Make your meals purposeful. Eat enough to stay full. This is why we teach 1-2-3 Meals – to show you how to pair food groups for optimal energy and staying-power.

Get a snack if you need one, and include more than one food group.

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Take a mental break.

    • Call a friend
    • Set a timer and read a book or magazine
    • Sit outside and people-watch
    • Lay down and rest your eyes for a few minutes. Set a timer if you need one. A 15-20 minute nap can be magical (depending on time of day and your sleep habits). 
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Get moving.

  • Take a walk
  • Get the mail
  • Do a chore (helpful for my work-from-home clients that need a break from the computers)
  • Prep dinner
  • Few minutes of stretching or yoga
  • Do a short workout (even 5-10 minutes is beneficial!)
  • Play fun music and sing or dance to it
Afternoon energy boosters

Making sure your meals are balanced most of the time, you are staying hydrated, and you are getting good sleep all impact you more than you may realize.  So, before you just reach for that cup of afternoon coffee, use this guide to ask yourself what else is going on. Let us help you take a look at your overall daily habits that may need some tweaking if you need it!

This is not intended for medical advice.

Post by Ashley Cully, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

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