At the office, things can get a little slow and humdrum. After all, much of the day is spent sitting at a desk and staring at a screen. So, it is perfectly natural to reach out for snacks, if simply to break the monotony. Snacks are also an effective way to get the energy-boosting sustenance we need, especially after the post-lunch slump that I am sure many are familiar with.
What you decide to snack on and how much of it have a direct impact on your afternoon productivity levels. When you snack, make healthy choices by going for foods that don’t mess with your blood sugar levels and that don’t put you right to sleep straight after. That means staying away from candy, soda and other stuff that’s basically filled with sugar and empty calories.
Besides making the optimum snack choices, one of the best ways to get the blood flowing and energy levels rising is to get up from your seat every so often, stretch and go for a brief stroll around the office. If you follow these two simple steps, not only will you be nice and alert, you will also be doing your waistline a favour!
Here are five tasty and healthy snack options that are guaranteed not to put you in a food coma during the mid-afternoons—and there’s no coffee required!
Have an Orange
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and pomelos are really excellent options for a mid-afternoon snack. You don’t even need to bite into it to get the positive effects; even a whiff of their refreshing scent can stimulate your senses and awaken you.
The natural sugars in the fruit provide us with a pleasant burst of energy but yet, will not send your blood sugar levels crashing the way that junk food, with all that added sugar, would. Now that we are in the middle of CNY, we highly recommend getting your hands on some sweet and juicy mandarin oranges!
You can also try fruits that are not in the citrus family but are packed with vitamin C such as apples, pineapples and blueberries. The vitamin C boosts your energy levels and helps to fend off any signs of fatigue.
Sip Green Tea
Fatigue and lethargy sets in when one is dehydrated. And dehydration is a very distinct possibility when you are sitting in an air-conditioned office all day and neglecting to drink your quota of fluids. While water should always be the number one choice, we also know that it helps to have a variety. For that, we would suggest that you consider sipping some good quality green tea as well.
Green tea only contains about half the amount of caffeine than a cup of brewed coffee, so it has the benefit of increasing your alertness and energy levels without the crash that you normally would experience with coffee. Plus, green tea is also brimming with antioxidants such as polyphenols and catechins, which help to lower your risk for cancer, while reducing inflammation and cell damage. Good reasons for a daily cuppa.
Chew on Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate not only contains a good amount of caffeine (but less than coffee), it also contains flavanols that promote blood flow to the brain, thereby helping to keep you alert and awake.
The higher the percentage of dark chocolate (experts suggest it should at least be over 70 per cent) and the lower the sugar content, the better it is for you. So if you are thinking that milk chocolate will do the trick, think again.
Just because dark chocolate has major health benefits doesn’t give you license to overindulge in it. A little bit does go a long way, so do make sure to enjoy in moderation.
Enjoy Whole Grain Options
If you plan on getting any work done in the afternoons, always choose wholegrain options (e.g., brown rice, oats, barley, wholegrain toast) over simple carbohydrates (e.g., white bread, white rice). Complex carbs break down much more slowly than simple ones, which allows for a more steady release of energy and the avoidance of the dreaded crash.
Pair wholegrain toast with peanut butter (the natural kind) and a banana for a serious and healthy source of fuel that won’t drag you down.
A handful of mixed nuts is an excellent mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Nuts may be high in fat, but they are the good kinds that provide you with plenty of energy such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Some great options are walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and pecans. They are really so much better than reaching out for a packet of biscuits or a slice of cake.
Nuts are also high in protein and fibre, so you’ll feel satisfied after noshing on a few. They are also topped with other essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and vitamin E.
Unsalted baked nuts are your best bet. In fact, do avoid those that are salted, honey-roasted and otherwise flavoured. You can add some interest by dry-frying nuts at home with some fun sweet or savoury spices such as cinnamon, paprika and cayenne pepper.