8 Foods That Will Boost Your Energy When You’re Totally Dragging, According To Nutritionists
Hint: Put down that cup of coffee.
The only thing that's more likely to crash than your laptop when you forget to save an important document you've spent hours working on? You, circa 3 p.m. every day.
It seems no one's immune to the post-lunch slump, not even the pros who make it their business to eat healthfully. The timing is a perfect storm of your morning java wearing off, lack of sleep kicking in, and your body diverting its resources to digest lunch—all of which leads to that mid-afternoon lethargy we're all so familiar with, says Keri Glassman, R.D., Women's Health's weight loss expert.
The difference is, nutrition gurus like her know what to reach for to avoid ending up face down on their keyboards (hint: it's not coffee). We quizzed seven nutritionists on the snacks that help them power through the rest of their day:
"I love a matcha latte. It gives me a gentle dose of caffeine and contains a compound called L-theanine that also helps with focus." —Keri Glassman, R.D., Women's Health weight loss expert.
"When I'm dragging in the middle of the day, nothing perks me up like a square or two of dark chocolate. I like super-dark varieties with 88 percent cocoa because they have the most antioxidants and least sugar. Cocoa is a mood booster and has a modest amount of caffeine to boot, so it's a great indulgent—but still healthy—choice." —Jen Bruning, R.D.N., media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
"Mine is ginger. It opens up sinuses and boosts circulation, so a small amount can instantly pep me up. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory, which is key, because if I'm dragging I'm probably stressed out or sleep deprived—both of which can fuel inflammation. I'll grate fresh peeled ginger root into water or eat a slice or two. If the flavour of it raw is too strong, you may like dried or crystallised ginger root." —Cynthia Sass, R.D., author of Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches With Pulses—The New Superfood
"Being dehydrated can suck you dry in more ways than one. My go-to is coconut water. It's high in potassium—12 ounces has more than a medium-sized banana—which helps fuel you up fast." —Lisa De Fazio, R.D., author of The Women's Health Big Book of Smoothies & Soups
"The tang of citrus always has an invigorating effect on me. If you don't have time to enjoy an orange in the shower, squeeze a little lemon into hot water for an instant pick-me-up." —Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N., author of The Superfood Swap
"An apple with almonds always does the trick for me. The apple provides natural sugar, your body's first choice for fuel, along with a punch of fibre to keep your release of energy steady and sustained. Almonds are a good source of protein and magnesium, a mineral that helps power your cells." —Lisa Jones, R.D.N.
"My go-to is celery with a little almond butter. I like the texture contrast, and just the act of chewing crunchy foods like celery can help wake you up—studies have found that the act of chewing activates areas of the brain involved in alertness." —Maureen Callahan, R.D.
"Sometimes if I am dragging, a simple hard-boiled egg and a cup of blueberries can do the trick. The berries provide 21 grams of carbohydrates, our bodies' first choice for fuel, and almost four grams of fibre which helps to keep my blood sugar stable. The protein from the egg helps to assure that I won't be dragging again an hour later." —Keri Gans, R.D.N., author ofThe Small Change Diet