Many people make amazing food choices for breakfast and lunch, and then come 3pm (or after dinner, or both!), it is as if someone else has taken over their body and turned them into a total sugar or caffeine-a-holic!! The sugar cravings and subsequent consumption craving for a pick-me-up kick in, and they’ve lost all control, despite the best intentions earlier in the day.
Caffeine and refined sugars give us a quick burst of energy and makes us feel like we’re back on track energy and focus-wise, but however satisfying the fuel sources are in the short term, they will only be short lived and will soon be followed by another dip or more likely a crash in energy….we’ve all been there and recognise this roller coastering energy situation.
Here are my three tips for making it through the afternoon without a hangry moment in site:
Tip #1: Include some good fats with your lunch from whole food sources such as whole nuts and seeds in with your salad, or good quality extra virgin salad dressing to keep you satiated and supplied with key fatty acids to fuel your brain and your cells. If you go low fat, your body will crave fats and these masked may be confused as sugar cravings, hence why they’re not satiated by crisps or chocolate.
Tip #2: Get some sleep and some R + R time scheduled into your diary daily. Do something every day that restores you on the energy front, be it a warm bubbly bath at night, or a sit down and listen to some of your favourite relaxing music or do 10 deep breaths whilst looking up at the sky before you head to work. Monitor when your most tired moments are and if you see a pattern, notice what foods you’re having directly before then to see if there are certain foods which zap your body’s energy. If there is a pattern, omit that food and see if you notice a difference.
Tip #3: The power of a power nap. Having a quick nap during the day, if you’re able to, can totally recharge your batteries. Just 20 minutes will do the trick. If you’re not able to take a nap, take 10 minutes out of your day to close your eyes, focus on your breath, and be still.
Bonus tip #4: When it comes to snacking, make sure you have some protein in there as protein will keep you satiated. I love nuts and seeds (unsalted and non-roasted), and either just have them as they are or whizz them up with some cacao, coconut oil and dates to make energy balls. You can make a big batch, freeze them and take a couple out before you head to work so you are snack-ready. Being prepared with your snacks is super important so you don’t find yourself empty handed as you are hungry and walk passed a vending machine!
Taste buds renew every 10-14 days and because of this short renewal time we can train our taste buds to enjoy food with less sweetness in a relatively short space of time! By making a switch from highly refined sugars to sweetness from nature and hence decreasing the intensity of the sweet flavour, you can actually lower the threshold level of sweet food you prefer.
Some people like to completely overhaul how they eat and feel energized and excited by doing so but for the majority of people, making small, committed changes seems to work best and slowly consuming less processed food and replacing it with enjoying more real food.
Hope these help you on your journey to be a little more sugar free.