Power Lunches to Get You Through the Workday
Do you seem to lose focus and get tired around 2:30 every afternoon? If so, then you’re not alone. Many of us fall prey to the dreaded “afternoon slump,” a noticeable energy dip that can leave you sleepy and irritable—or even give you a massive migraine.
According to Gina Shaw in her WebMD article titled “Afternoon Energy Boosters,” the energy dip is caused by our natural body clock that makes us sleepy around mid-afternoon. This drowsiness can be made worse if you have poor eating habits. Skipping meals, going too long between meals, or consuming too much caffeine and sugar can cause your blood sugar to drop—and that makes you sluggish and irritable.
How to beat the mid-afternoon slump
Fortunately, it’s easy to beat the afternoon slump. First, make sure you eat a balanced breakfast that contains carbs and protein, for example cereal with yogurt or a slice of bread with a scrambled egg. (And no, coffee with sugar and cream doesn’t count!) And second, instead of skipping lunch, enjoy a healthy power lunch with lots of vegetables and lean protein. Avoid too many carbs and fats, since they require more energy to digest and will just make you drowsy.
Three power lunches for every palate
Here are three quick and easy recipes for power lunches you can make at home and take with you to work. You can adjust the ingredient amounts according to taste.
1. Rainbow power kale salad: Perfect for vegetarians and vegans, this super healthy salad from Nutrition Secrets takes only a couple of minutes to make. Mix finely chopped kale and purple cabbage with diced red bell pepper, chopped carrots, and broccoli florets. Add chickpeas and cashews, and drizzle with your favorite low-calorie dressing. (Note: the recipe uses a peanut Dijon dressing, but since it’s high in fat, it could make you drowsy.)
2. Balsamic chicken salad: Allrecipes’ delicious version of this classic salad is easy to prepare at home. Mix cold, cooked chicken with diced apple, chopped onions, diced celery, and chopped walnuts. Make the dressing by mixing balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle it over the salad and let it chill before eating.
3. Roast beef and avocado wrap: This yummy recipe from Allrecipes takes a bit longer to prepare—but it’s definitely worth it! Mix cream cheese, garlic, cumin, and chili flakes together in a small bowl. Warm a tortilla (tomato and oregano tortillas are recommended!); then spread the cream cheese mixture on the tortilla. Place a piece of lettuce, two slices of roast beef, some chopped avocado, tomato, and shredded cheese on top of it; then carefully roll up the tortilla tightly.
One final tip: Take 20 to 30 minutes to get out of the office and give yourself a mental break from work while you enjoy your lunch. This will help re-energize you so you’re ready to go for the rest of the afternoon!