Have you ever felt like you want to curl up under your desk and take a nap in the afternoon? Believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s usually after I overdid it at lunch. If we were all living in Spain or Italy where it’s common to take a siesta, this might not be a problem we’d have to worry about. But that’s not the world we live in. We need to be able to function – without a nap – between lunch and dinner. And for many of us, that means redefining the power lunch.
Here are some tips for making sure our lunch supercharges you instead of slowing you down.
- Easy on the carbs. Especially avoid refined carbs at lunchtime. These will spike your blood sugar and give you an energy surge, but that surge will fall flat in no time. You don’t need to have a carb-free meal, but focus on whole grains and complex carbs instead of the refined stuff. And remember to keep it light. Too many carbs may cause the body to release too much serotonin, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy.
- Have a mid-morning snack. If you don’t want to overeat, don’t show up to lunch starving. Be sure to load up on fiber before noon. Snacking on almonds or baby carrots before lunchtime will help keep you from overindulging.
- Focus on protein. Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in our bodies. It’s found in your hair, nails, skin, organs and ligaments. It’s important for a lot of reasons, but it’s especially important to keep the brain functioning properly. This is because your brain cells rely on amino acids (building blocks of protein) to make the neurotransmitters that send messages between brain cells. If you don’t have enough protein, it’s natural to have trouble concentrating because there may actually be a communication breakdown going on in your brain.