What to eat to beat an afternoon energy slump

Published on March 29 2012 - 2:40 PM
What to Eat to Beat an Afternoon Energy Slump

As the afternoon rolls along (or drags on, depending on your take), the office candy bowl sees an uptick in traffic. But a new study shows that it’s not sugar, but protein that you should reach for to beat an afternoon slump.

The study, from the University of Cambridge in England and published in the November 2011 issue of Neuron, found that while glucose (sugar) blocks certain neurons that help you feel awake, the amino acids in protein prevent that from happening. So, if you eat some carbs at lunch, a protein-rich afternoon snack may keep you from feeling sleepy. And since protein helps keep you feeling full longer, that snack might tide you over better than a sugary one and keep you from snacking too much throughout the afternoon.

Here are some protein-rich afternoon snacks to try:

Banana-Cocoa Soy Smoothie

Smoothie made with silken tofu or yogurt or this Banana-Cocoa Soy Smoothie


Steamed Edamame with Coarse Salt

Steamed Edamame with Coarse Salt


Spiced Chickpea

Spiced Chickpea “Nuts”


Guacamole-Stuffed Eggs

A hard-boiled egg—eat it plain or gussy it up: Guacamole-Stuffed Eggs and The Secret to Perfectly Hard-Boiled Eggs


Gorp

Trail mix of nuts and dried fruit


Feta & Herb Dip

Veggies and hummus or Feta & Herb Dip


Turkey Rollups

Turkey Rollups—Spread 2 slices of deli turkey breast with 2 teaspoons mustard (or mango chutney) each and season with pepper. Wrap each prepared turkey slice around 2 sesame breadsticks.


  • Nonfat yogurt snack tip: Greek yogurt delivers more protein than regular yogurt.
  • Banana and peanut butter
  • Open-face tuna sandwich
  • Nonfat latte (decaf or regular)

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Kerri-Ann Jennings is a registered dietitian with a master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University.