If the afternoon drag has you feeling drowsy, your diet may be to blame. Even in the absence of nutritional deficiency, the foods you eat (or don’t eat) on a regular basis can leave you feeling sluggish and drowsy not long after mealtime. Beware of the following energy saboteurs, which may be to blame for your overwhelming urge for an afternoon nap.

Subpar Snacks and Drinks

If your typical office snack routine consists of trips back and forth to the vending machine or candy jar, you’re sabotaging your body’s natural blood sugar pathways, causing an exhausting system of high highs and low lows. High-sugar beverages (including fruit and vegetable juices, even those with no added sugar), candy, pastries, sweets, crackers, chips, and even granola bars may be to blame.

Energy drinks, gourmet coffees, and fruit juices are a primary cause of daytime fatigue, thanks to plummeting blood sugar that occurs after the initial effects of caffeine and sugar have worn off. If you’re dying for a PM caffeine boost, stick to a natural, sugar free option, like black coffee or tea, and avoid energy drinks.

Remake your snack routine to favor fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, all of which provide a steadier source of energy than quickly digested refined carbohydrates. Try cut veggies with canned tuna or rolled deli ham, or an apple with a string cheese stick or peanut butter, or simply mix yourself a protein shake.

A Broken Breakfast Routine  

If you head out the door without breakfast in the morning, there’s a good chance you’re robbing your body of the energy it needs to perform its very best.

While skipping an AM meal can be tempting (especially if you’re trying to lose weight), breakfast is not the place to skimp. Research has consistently shown that eating breakfast actually helps promote the maintenance of a healthy body weight by controlling Caloric intake throughout the remainder of the day.

The wrong breakfast, however, can be equally detrimental to weight and energy outcomes. Unbalanced or high sugar breakfasts can cause a rapid rise and subsequent drop in blood sugar that leaves you ready for a nap.

AVOID - fruit and vegetable juices (make a smoothie instead), high-sugar coffee drinks, energy drinks, sugary pastries, muffins, and refined carbohydrates

FAVOR - whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, fruit, and vegetables

Make breakfast a consistent routine. Consume a balanced breakfast in the ballpark of 300 Calories - a yogurt and an apple, a banana and two hardboiled eggs, or a slice of toast with deli turkey are all balanced, high protein options that will keep you full and focused until lunch.

Looking for more tips to tighten up your diet? Check out this article to find out more!