For many women, starting the day already feeling tired and lethargic is a common occurrence. To combat this, they often rely on sugar, caffeine, and snacks just to make it through the day. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that certain food habits can actually worsen fatigue. If you find yourself feeling exhausted after lunch, here are some easy food fixes to help regulate your glucose levels and maintain energy throughout the day.
One mistake many people make is not timing their caffeine intake correctly. While enjoying a coffee in the morning is a popular choice, it can often lead to an energy slump later in the morning. Instead, try drinking tea in the morning and save your coffee for around 9 or 10 am. This will help regulate your energy levels until lunchtime. The same goes for a mid-afternoon caffeine hit. If caffeine doesn’t affect your sleep, enjoy a coffee or tea in the afternoon to avoid the late-afternoon fatigue that often leads to cravings for sugary snacks.
Another common issue is eating lunch too late or skipping it altogether. When you have a busy schedule, it’s easy to push lunch back to 2 or 3 pm or replace it with snacks and coffee on the go. However, not consuming a well-balanced meal three to four hours after breakfast can leave you feeling cranky and fatigued in the afternoon. To combat this, prioritize a protein-rich lunch by noon or 1 pm each day. This will help keep your glucose levels controlled and provide you with sustained energy until late afternoon.
Timing and balance are crucial when it comes to lunch. Many store-bought lunches tend to be carb-heavy, lacking in protein and vegetables. While these meals may provide temporary satisfaction, they often lead to cravings and energy crashes later on. Instead, opt for a lunch that includes protein and vegetables, with a smaller portion of good quality carbohydrates like vegetables, legumes, or wholegrain crackers. This will not only keep you fuller for longer, but it will also prevent the post-lunch lethargy that often accompanies carb-heavy meals.
Additionally, it’s essential to ensure you’re getting enough fresh food in your diet. While many busy individuals claim to have a “healthy” diet, they often neglect the volume of fresh food needed for optimal health and energy. Grabbing quick foods like sushi, wraps, muffins, and toasties may provide some carbs and protein, but they lack the bulk and nutrients found in salads and vegetables. To improve energy regulation and nutrient intake, try to include a serving of fresh food with every meal. This can be in the form of a salad, soup, or cooked vegetables.
Finally, try to avoid satisfying sweet cravings with more sweet food. When your energy levels are low, reaching for a sugary treat can provide instant relief. However, consuming sweet food in large quantities over time leads to a dependence on sugar for energy. This can result in a vicious cycle of cravings and fatigue. To naturally regulate your sweet food intake and keep cravings and blood glucose levels under control, avoid overly sweet foods throughout the day. Instead, choose healthier options such as unsweetened yogurt, herbal tea, or dark chocolate in moderation.
By making these easy food fixes in your daily routine, you can regain control of your glucose levels and maintain steady energy throughout the day. Remember to prioritize protein and vegetables, time your caffeine intake correctly, include fresh food in your meals, and avoid relying on sugar to combat fatigue. With these changes, you’ll be able to stay energized and focused, no matter how busy your day is.