Think Energy at Your Next Meal is a new series by our team of bloggers designed to bring you recipes and eating tips to energize your day. Trade in some of your go-to snacks and meals to create these tasty, energy-filled delectables.
Four Lunch Recipes to Beat the Midday Energy Slump
Tell me if this rings a bell. First thing in the morning, you’re on top of the world, crushing your to-do list and making big productivity plans for the afternoon. But after a quick break for lunch – oh, say, around 2 p.m. – you find your attention span slipping, and before you know it, you can hardly keep your eyes open. Congratulations, you’ve officially entered the midday energy slump.
But where in the world does this sudden crash come from? Sure, certain things are happening with your internal clock between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. that make a bit of afternoon drowsiness inevitable on most days. However, eating habits can play a significant role in driving that fatigue even further – all the way to an enormous energy crash.
To avoid this, experts recommend starting with a healthy breakfast that includes carbohydrates and protein to get the brain going. Follow that up with a protein-fueled lunch to maximize your energy in the afternoon. Mixing proteins with carbohydrates can improve concentration and focus, reducing your chances of midday fatigue. Here are four energy-packed lunch ideas to keep you fueled:
Energy-Boosting Salmon on Swiss Chard
According to Business Insider, “a 2004 review published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease states that omega-3 fatty acids can elevate your mood and even protect against depression.” This baked salmon on Swiss chard recipe, courtesy of Savor Culinary Services, is a triple threat: it’s healthy, it’s energy-packed, and it’s delicious!
Black Bean and Rice Salad
Beans are another excellent source of protein and carbohydrates, and they can be added to a number of recipes to fuel the energizing potential of your next meal. This black bean and rice salad recipe, brought to you by Epicurious, combines the protein of black beans with the carbohydrates of corn and brown rice to deliver a quick and easy solution for avoiding a midday lull.
The Perfect Spinach Salad
Eggs are nutrient-rich, containing high amounts of protein and a range of essential amino acids shown to boost memory and cognition. Ree Drummond’s perfect spinach salad recipe will load your plate with vitamin-packed, iron-rich spinach and the protein power of egg, leaving you highly satisfied – and highly energized to take on the afternoon.
Fresh and Fruity Red Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is rich in protein and fiber – an action-packed combo that can help fuel the body in the afternoon. This fresh and fruity red quinoa salad, courtesy of PopSugar, also includes avocado, a healthy, energy-filled monounsaturated fat. And it contains nuts and dried fruit – two great pick-me-ups filled with energy-sustaining nutrients.