Office Snacks to Battle the Afternoon Crash
We’ve all been there. Five o’clock is still hours away, but you’re not sure you can keep your eyelids open any longer. You’ve already burned through your third, fourth, or maybe even fifth cup of coffee to no avail, and the work sitting on your desk feels insurmountable.
The afternoon crash is something we’re all familiar with to some degree — some cultures have even embraced afternoon naps as a tradition. But what causes the afternoon crash, and how can we use office snacks to help us make it through to the end of the day?
We have everything you need to know about why you get sleepy in the afternoon, how you can improve your daily habits to prevent that afternoon crash, and which healthy office snacks will wake up both your taste buds and your foggy brain cells.
The Role of Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms naturally tell us when our bodies should be getting sleep. Those same rhythms just so happen to tell our bodies that we need a little nap during the middle of the afternoon.
Each person’s circadian rhythm is affected by numerous factors, including wake time, sleep debt, nutrition, and physical activity. Depending on how you’ve treated your body over the past few days, you may feel varying degrees of sleepiness in the afternoon.
Blood sugar fluctuations also affect the degree to which you feel the afternoon crash. Office snacks high in sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike — and subsequently crash shortly thereafter.
In other words, a sweet or heavy meal for lunch can leave you struggling to make it to dinner. That’s why it is so important to eat nutritious meals throughout the day and get adequate exercise to make sure you don’t crash before the workday is done.
Not Just What You Eat
Avoiding the afternoon crash requires attention to your overall health — not just to the few hours leading up that third cup of coffee. Make sure you get adequate sleep each night and at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to keep your body running efficiently.
Also, try to eat regular, balanced meals throughout the day so that your body has plenty of protein, healthy fats, and whole grain carbohydrates to prevent any spikes in blood sugar that will leave you crashing later. When it comes to office snacks, keep them nutrition-forward and avoid processed sugars and carbs.
Sugar Won’t Keep You Awake
A study from the University of Cambridge in England discovered that more carbohydrate-filled office snacks may not be what you need to keep going. In fact, it’s the opposite: carbs can make you sleepy. Glucose (a key component of carbs) blocks certain neurons that help you feel awake, and it’s the amino acids in proteins that prevent that blockage from happening altogether.
Protein isn’t all you need. Studies have also shown that healthy fats promote brain function — so don’t let diet culture trick you into thinking you can’t eat them. Keeping office snacks labeled “low fat” will only make your brain fog worse.
Instead, provide yourself with adequate healthy fats throughout the day so that your brain will think more clearly and can avoid the fog that comes with the afternoon crash.
The next time you reach for another cup of coffee when feeling the afternoon crash coming on, try a handful of nuts or seeds instead.
Nuts and seeds are the perfect office snack: They’re packed with both protein and healthy fats, both of which can help you rally when you start to feel sleepy. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals that boost your overall well being, and they’re easy to store and munch mid-spreadsheet.
Lean dairy options are another great slump-fighting office snack. While fats are certainly important, dairy products can easily pack in excess levels of this important macronutrient.
Cottage cheese and greek yogurt, two lean and protein-packed dairy options, are a delicious way to get the protein you need to keep you going when you start to feel sleepy. Top these with fruit and a drizzle of honey for a perfectly sweet — and healthy — boost of energy.
If you don’t have time for a bowl of cottage cheese or greek yogurt, string cheese and dried fruit are another great office snack that’s just as good on the go.
If you crave the taste of coffee in the afternoon but don’t want to rely on it to stay awake, try mixing it with your smoothie. While this office snack might feel a bit gourmet, trust us — it’s worth it.
Make a little extra coffee in the morning and let it cool in the refrigerator throughout the day. When the need for an afternoon snack rolls around, mix the coffee with some low-fat yogurt, a banana, and a handful of nuts for a delicious, healthy snack.
Millennials get teased for their love of avocado toast, but they’re on to something (whether they know it or not): Avocados are high in healthy fats, which lower “bad” cholesterol levels, and high in fiber, which helps you feel fuller, longer.
They’re also high in several vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin B6, which help regulate amino acids in the blood and can make you feel less sleepy overall.
Working from home? Then your office snacks can be a bit more gourmet. Take one whole peeled and pitted avocado and mash it in a small bowl. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a dash of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red peppers. Spread on a slice of whole grain toast.
Take it to the next level by sprinkling some freshly grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Add an egg for some extra protein.
Outstanding Office Snacks
If your preferred afternoon office snack is a bag of chips, consider switching to Outstanding Puffs from Outstanding Foods. They’re essentially a vegan cheeto — and they’re dang good.
These plant-based office snacks are packed with 21 grams of protein in each bag and 20 different vitamins and minerals to provide your body with natural energy and nutrition.
Best of all, they come in 5 different flavors, like Chill Ranch and Pizza Partay, to keep your taste buds awake and entertained.
So the next time you go for that cup of coffee when the afternoon doldrums start rolling in, consider some of these healthier office snacks to keep you awake longer and pushing through to the quitting bell. Your brain, your body, and your taste buds will thank you.Check out Outstanding Puffs from Outstanding Foods today.