6 Foods to Power Through Your Afternoon Slump
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6 Foods to Power Through Your Afternoon Slump

Overcome your 2 p.m. fatigue with these energy-boosting foods.

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By Taylor Lupo 

When 2 p.m. hits, your energy and alertness may dip to devastatingly low levels. A carb-heavy lunch, too little water and long hours at your desk can all contribute to sleepiness, but another cup of coffee might not be the best answer. In fact, too much caffeine can dehydrate your body, adding to tiredness. Instead, try these fatigue-fighting foods.

Calories can help boost your body's energy levels, so pack yourself an afternoon snack that's a mix of slow-absorbing carbohydrates and protein. An apple with peanut butter or a serving of whole grain crackers with hummus are both standout options. 

Chia Seeds

2 / 7 Chia Seeds

Not only are chia seeds versatile, they’re also packed with nutrients like fiber, calcium and magnesium, which is vital for energy production. The fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates can also help you feel energized for longer periods of time. Blend a tablespoon into your morning smoothie for a boost that lasts throughout the day or sprinkle them on top of Greek yogurt. For an afternoon pick me up that's ready when you are, combine chia seeds with almond milk and your favorite diced fruit. If you stir up your ingredients in the morning, your pudding will be ready by mid-afternoon.

Tip: Struggling to make it through the work day? Try standing up! A quick walk to the copy machine can boost your energy.

Spinach

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Spinach can be blended into a smoothie, folded into an omelet or eaten in a salad, and contains the vital component that contributes to higher energy levels: iron. Iron is key to the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), your body’s energy source.

Tip: Monotony can be a real downer. Boost productivity by taking a break and focusing on something new.

Pumpkin Seeds

4 / 7 Pumpkin Seeds

A handful of pumpkin seeds contains energy-boosting iron and magnesium. Magnesium activates digestive enzymes, which are essential for breaking down food your body uses as energy. A handful of pumpkin seeds contains 74 milligrams (about 19 percent of the recommended daily value) of magnesium and five grams of protein, about 10 percent of the daily recommendation.

Tip: Dehydration can affect brain function and energy levels, so wash this energy booster down with an extra glass of water.

Melon

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Water can be energizing, so foods that hydrate your body boost your energy, too. Fruits that contain a lot of water, like cantaloupe and watermelon, can help your body combat midday fatigue. Watermelon, made of more than 90 percent H2O, also contains fructose, a natural sugar that digests slowly to provide energy over time. 

Tip: Feeling sluggish? Hold a quick stretch. Stretching delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and increases your heart rate. Just as stretching prepares your body for physical activity, it can rejuvenate your body to complete the day with more energy. 

Pistachios

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Pistachios are loaded with vitamin B6, magnesium, iron and manganese, all of which promote energy production. Pistachios also pack a protein punch at six grams per one-ounce serving, but they're calorie dense, so mind your serving sizes. If you're looking to switch up your snack, almonds, cashews and peanuts are also high on the list of magnesium-rich nuts, and can help you push through you afternoon.

Tip: Music can be energizing, so crank up the tunes. Choose your favorite—upbeat—song, pop in your headphones and revitalize your energy.

Tea

7 / 7 Tea

When your energy wanes in the afternoon, so does your productivity. Boost your energy and mental alertness with a glass of green tea—served warm or iced. A mug of green tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee (so you won’t get the jitters), but contains enough to perk you up. Green tea is also loaded with L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes brain function.

Tip: Take a nap! This might not be feasible for everyone, but if you have the opportunity—and a pillow—take advantage. A 20-30 minute nap is a great way to improve alertness.