That dreaded mid-afternoon slump always seems to hit at the worst time: you're in a meeting at work, you're dealing with a sick kid, or you just remembered that you have additional reading for your class—and it needs to be done tonight! Trying to summon a surge of energy to get you through the rest of the day can be especially difficult if you have evening activities or study time planned. Luckily, certain foods can give your body and mind a much-needed boost, so grab some to help you power through a busy day and night.
Bananas are super portable, a great health food, tasty, and usually pretty affordable. Add this to the list: their high fructose level equals an instant natural energy boost and the fiber bananas contain fills you up.
Just two tablespoons of peanut butter give you seven grams of protein as well as a slew of healthy fats, so it's definitely got staying power. This combination of fat and protein means that you'll get a slow release of energy, which is key to avoiding an afternoon crash.
Popeye was onto something; spinach is a great source of iron, which helps the body feel energized. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue and affect physical endurance. Increase the iron in your diet by enjoying a salad packed with spinach and beans for lunch.
Step away from those sugar-laden coffee drinks and canned energy drinks. A shot of honey is a better alternative. Squirt some into black tea, or drizzle some on an afternoon snack of yogurt. Honey has a low glycemic index, so you won't immediately crash after having some. If you're trying to muster energy for an after-work gym session, even better: honey helps replenish muscles after a workout.
Eggs are often considered a complete food. They contain protein, good fats, and lots of vitamins--including B2, B5, and B12--important energy-producing vitamins. Eggs also contain essential amino acids, which help your body rebuild muscle. This makes eggs a great pre-gym meal. Throw some hard-boiled eggs into your bag for a quick and easy snack.
You just got home from work, but the day's not over yet. You might have hungry mouths to feed, or you need to get to work an important assignment—or both. Does this sound familiar? If so, for a quick, nutritious meal that also gives you a boost, try salmon. Salmon fillets take fewer than 10 minutes to cook and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin B6.
Try one or all these foods to see what most improves your energy levels!