Avoid Mid-Afternoon Energy Crash

by Sarah Harris | October 19th, 2011 | Nutrition

Do you regularly experience a dip in energy and mood around 3pm?  Can’t seem to figure out how to get off the drain train? How we approach our nutrition can have a significant impact on our energy levels and well-being. Could you be missing out on some of these key vitalizers?

Overcoming fatigue and increasing vitality comes down to balancing our blood sugar levels. Like a car, our bodies, and especially our brains, require a steady amount of fuel to function optimally. Here are some helpful tips to keep your engines going well into the evening:

1)  Choosing a Breakfast for Champions:

Naturally, our blood sugar levels are low after a long night of sleep. To ensure our tanks are full, it’s important to make breakfast the most important meal of the day.  So what are you eating for breakfast?  Maybe, like most you are consuming a commonly high carb breakfast such as packaged and processed cereals, toast, O.J, muffins and/or fruit?  These items can drive our blood sugars through the roof, only to come crashing down and leaving us in search of coffee or more sugar. The trick is to include good quality protein and fat in your breakfast.  It may sound weird, yet eating dinner for breakfast can keep your energy in cruise control. Super nutritious veggies such as kale, broccoli, or carrots, energy packed protein such as eggs, chicken, even fish, and good quality fats such as organic butter, olive oil, or antioxidant rich avocado oil provide a breakfast that will leave you ready to go!

2)  Stay Hydrated:

Amazingly our bodies are 70-80% water, and besides oxygen, water is the 2nd most essential nutrient for the body.  Dehydration can send our blood sugar levels into a tailspin, leaving you fatigued and irritable.  Hydrating the body is also a wonderful way to detoxify, leaving our bodies full of energy.  It’s important to consume ½ your body weight in ounces a day.  For example, a 130lbs woman would require 65 ounces, which is the equivalent to 8 glasses a day. Filtered water or glass bottled water from quality sources are essential to avoid contaminants.

3)  Finding the Right Fuel:

According to the book Metabolic Typing, by William Wolcott, we are all designed differently and require different ratios of macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbs) to function optimally.  An easy way to find out what macronutrient ratios work for you, is to pay attention to how you feel after you eat.  Try a few of these different macronutrient ratios and notice how you feel ½ an hour to 1 hour after:

Protein Type: 35% Carbohydrates, 45% Protein, 20% Fats/Oils.

Carbohydrate Type:  70% Carbohydrates, 20% Protein, 10% Fats/Oils.

Mixed Type:  50% Carbohydrates, 40% Protein, 10% Fats/Oils.

You’ve hit the target when you have a sense of well-being and sustained energy for 3 hours.

Try these suggestions for a few weeks, and you’ll be moving towards afternoons full of energy and vitality.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.