What Foods Will Keep You Energised Throughout The Day?


Tired of succumbing to the late-afternoon vending machine temptation? Wave goodbye to the post-lunch slump with these nutritionist-endorsed snacks that will keep you fueled and energized.

Have you ever hit an afternoon energy wall so hard that even caffeine seems powerless to revive you? Despite a restful night’s sleep, your eyelids start to droop, focus wanes, and productivity hits an all-time low.

The 3pm slump is a common affliction, leaving us drained and struggling to break free from its grip. But what lies at the root of this energy interruption? Could that lunchtime pasta be sending us into a sleepy haze, or is inadequate hydration leaving our brain cells fatigued?

“Nutrition plays a significant role in the afternoon slump,” explains Kathleen Alleaume, a Sydney-based nutrition scientist and founder of The Right Balance. “While various factors contribute, nutrition is a key determinant in how our bodies respond to the afternoon hours.”

While a hearty lunch is often blamed for diminishing concentration and sudden fatigue, the science behind the 3pm dip is more intricate. “Fluctuating blood sugar levels are often associated with the afternoon slump,” confirms accredited nutritionist Faye James. “While it’s not solely the fault of a substantial lunch, meal composition and portion size do play a role.”

According to James, an imbalanced lunch featuring unchecked portions of essential food groups is a major contributor to energy fluctuations. This phenomenon, often labeled “post-meal fatigue,” can strike in the mid-afternoon.

The consumption of high-carb, sugary, or processed foods can trigger rapid spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar levels, resulting in weariness and fatigue. However, James highlights that consuming specific nutrients throughout the day is one of the best strategies to ward off drowsiness.

In the face of the 3pm slump, many turn to a quick pick-me-up. Whether it’s a sugary soda or a mythical candy bar, the sought-after energy surge usually arrives in the form of a sugar-laden or caffeine-packed “treat.” Not only do these options derail healthy eating goals, they also work against us.

“Sugar exacerbates the situation,” warns clinical nutritionist and Health with Bec founder Bec Miller. “You may experience a temporary ‘high’ due to a blood sugar surge, but this is followed by a rapid crash.” The aftermath of this crash prompts cravings for more sugar, setting off an endless cycle.

So, what’s the solution? Opt for ingredients that provide sustained energy, advises Alleaume. “A well-balanced and nutritious lunch can help prevent the afternoon slump. A meal containing a combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber from vegetables and whole grains can deliver a steady release of energy throughout the day.”

Think protein sources like roast chicken, salmon, lean meats, or tofu, paired with lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and avocado – all of which promote lasting satiety.

Rather than succumbing to high-sugar “boosters,” seek out snacks that generate a gradual blood sugar response for enduring energy. Thankfully, there’s a multitude of healthful alternatives to power you through the day. Here’s what the experts recommend:

  1. Prioritize Nutrient-Rich Foods for Immediate Energy “Prioritize nutrient-dense whole foods in your diet,” suggests James. “Incorporate complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with healthy fats and proteins. These nutrients offer a stable energy source, maintaining steady blood sugar levels.”
  2. Stay Hydrated “Adequate hydration is crucial for energy levels,” Alleaume emphasizes. “Dehydration can lead to fatigue and sluggishness, so ensure you’re well-hydrated throughout the day, even when not feeling thirsty.”
  3. Nourish Your Gut Microbiome “A healthy gut translates to better energy, mood, and sleep,” notes Miller. “Eating well enhances focus, clarity, and energy, contributing to an overall sense of well-being.” Prioritize probiotics, fiber, and gut-friendly options.

Elevate your energy levels by making thoughtful snack choices and nurturing your well-being from within.