We all know that afternoon feeling. It’s around 2 or 3 p.m., when you’ve already put in six hours of work. The end of the day is near, but not near enough. The morning coffee has worked its way through your system, and you’re starting to wish you were back in preschool where “nap time” is part of the curriculum.
Unfortunately, despite the recent popularity of nap pods, napping is not encouraged on the job. So, what do you do to re-energize yourself during the 3 p.m. lull? Luckily, there are snacks that boost natural energy to power you through the rest of the workday. Here are some of our cubicle-friendly favorites.
Nuts are a nutrition goldmine. The protein in just a handful of nuts can easily hold you over until your next meal and help prepare you for your workout, plus give you energy to make it through those last mental laps of the workday. These little nuggets are also chock full of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron and vitamin B. Go for almonds, pistachios or cashews, which will pack the biggest energy boost.
Banana and peanut butter
By combining these two foods, you get the natural sugar of a banana with the protein-rich goodness of peanut butter. Both provide a crucial energy boost and won’t leave you crashing in the way refined sugars do. Bananas also moderate blood-sugar levels, very key in sustaining your energy through the peaks and valleys of a typical day.
Low-sugar Greek yogurt
This is a snack you have to eat with caution. A lot of Greek yogurts are packed with unnecessary sugar. This is where it’s important to read the labels. Anything less than 12 grams of sugar makes for a great snack. To give your yogurt some extra taste, add in fruit like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. The added fruit will sweeten your yogurt without relying on processed sugar.
Just one cup of these beans meets a third of your daily protein and fiber needs and offer key nutrients when it comes to re-energizing your body. Edamame also has amino acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese, as well as vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E — whew! Get the unshelled version because the time it takes to open up the natural package gives your body proper time to feel satisfied.
Hummus and vegetables or whole-grain crackers
Hummus and vegetables are low in fat and calories and high in fiber. The fiber staves off feelings of hunger and keeps you satisfied throughout the day. The whole-grain crackers will give you complex carbohydrates, boosting energy.
When it comes to getting the energy you need to remain focused on your tasks, the main thing to remember is to avoid prepackaged snacks. Opt for natural and fresh foods that will ultimately reduce your daily intake of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and transfats. Plus, natural options are less likely to contribute to an unwanted late-afternoon sugar crash flash.