It’s 3 p.m. -- and if you’re like many of us, you’re struggling to stay awake at your desk.
Say hello to the dreaded “afternoon slump.” Though experts don’t fully understand its causes, it’s likely associated with natural drops in both blood sugar and body temperature.
What we do know is -- unless you live in, say, Spain and can enjoy a siesta -- you have to find a way to work through it.
Is there a better solution than coffee or energy drinks? We think so: fueling your body with healthy food -- specifically items high in protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 energizing snacks to keep you going on those sluggish afternoons:
Dark Chocolate Chia Pudding
Image: Joyful Healthy Eats
We had to find a way to sneak chocolate onto this list, and, luckily, dark chocolate happens to be a great energy booster. In addition to caffeine, it’s a source of theobromine, which can boost both your energy levels and your mood. When combined with the power of chia seeds (which are rich in protein and brain-building omega-3s), this no-sugar dark chocolate chia pudding is the perfect pick-me-up.
We’re putting this snackable fruit high on the list because of the myriad benefits it offers. Not only does it contain folate, which has been shown to boost energy levels, and pectin, which helps regulate your blood sugar, but its citrusy aroma can help reinvigorate your senses.
In a rush? It doesn’t get easier than this: grab a jar of coconut oil and eat a healthy spoonful. This trendy fat is packed with medium-chain triglycerides, which the body can quickly convert into energy. To get the most benefits, make sure you choose coconut oil that is virgin, cold-pressed and organic.
There aren’t many snacks more splendid than roasted edamame. It’s convenient, filling and satisfyingly crunchy -- an excellent choice for quick desk munching. One serving (1/4 cup) has a hearty 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber -- with only 130 calories.
Fruit With Nut Butter
Fruit + nut butter = healthy carbs and protein. Marry an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and you’ll get a scrumptious 4 grams' worth of protein. If you get sick of that, try a pear or banana with almond butter. Just be sure to buy natural nut butter without any added ingredients; many so-called “healthy” brands have sugar hiding in their ingredient lists!
Image: Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows
Ever wanted to buy kale chips -- but balked at the cost? Luckily, they’re surprisingly easy to make. Pop ‘em into a reusable plastic container for an at-work snack that will rescue you from lethargy with its high iron content.
Make-Your-Own Açaí Bowls
Photo: Uproot From Oregon
Açaí -- which is, yes, three syllables -- is a type of berry full of antioxidants and healthy fats. We like ‘em best in a bowl filled with other energizing goodies, like this recipe that includes mango, banana, avocado and spinach.
Quinoa Chips With Guacamole
Because whole grains are full of complex carbohydrates, they break down in your body more slowly than other starches. Any type of whole-grain cracker or chip makes for a decent snack; just avoid “multi-grain,” as that is marketing-speak for several different types of refined grains. Combine a whole-grain snack with guacamole made from some amazing avocados, and your brain will be raring to go.
Image: Peachy Palate
Why bother with espresso when you can have matcha? This powder, which is made from ground-up green tea leaves, is growing popular as both a drink and recipe ingredient. Not only does it contain almost as much caffeine as coffee does, it also has protein and l-theanine, which slows the caffeine’s release. For a yummy alternative to tea, try this matcha fudge recipe.
Greek Yogurt With Berries
If you haven’t tried Greek yogurt yet, you’re missing out. Because its whey has been removed, it tastes richer than traditional yogurt -- but has 40 percent less sugar and twice the protein. It makes for a delicious snack, especially when topped with berries, which are among the fruits lowest on the Glycemic Index. (Read: They’ll give you a boost without making your blood sugar skyrocket.)
These energizing snacks can help you feel more well-rested without actually sleeping. Likewise, Garnier Ultra Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream can leave women looking refreshed, even when they've underslept.