4:00 P.M… Chocolate? Coffee? Nap?
We’ve all experienced the afternoon slump… – Heavy head. – Dragging body. – Cravings for carbs and comfort foods. – Longing for sleep. – Daydreaming. – Difficulty focusing. We all have our go-to habits when the afternoon slog sets in to power us through the rest of our day. Ideally, we would take a cat nap or drink more water or take a power walk and get fresh air and sun. But more often than not we turn to quick energy sources like carbs or caffeine. While metabolic fluctuations are normal throughout the day, wide swings can impact our ability to make healthful choices and leave us feeling spent. One way to turn wide swings into far less noticeable jags is to eat a low glycemic, high protein lunch.
Power Lunch Pro Tips
Go Green! Dark Green. Emerald Forest Green. Kale, collards, bok choy, arugula, swiss chard, and endive all contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help optimize glucose regulation. Antioxidants and polyphenols in plant foods can protect against diabetes due to their ability to enhance the cellular processes around glucose control. Eating an extra serving and a half of green leafy vegetables a day could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.
Pick Protein! Add any of the following to your cooked or raw greens: wild-caught fish, pasture-raised chicken breast, grass-fed beef, non-GMO tofu, beans, or legumes. Along with fat, protein pairing can help minimize glucose spikes.
Onboard Omega 3’s! One Harvard University study found that omega-3s increase levels of the hormone adiponectin, which promotes insulin sensitivity. Other research has linked higher red blood cell concentrations of omega-3 fats to better metabolic profiles. While fish (think salmon, anchovies, sardines, etc) is one of the most potent sources of omega-3s, it’s not the only way to get blood-sugar regulating fats. Grass-fed meat, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are loaded with omega-3s. Toss them into your salads, add to smoothies or sprinkle them over your veggies and protein for a little crunch.
Pack Snacks! Go for seed-based crackers with guacamole or nut butters, olives, olive tapenade, or a handful of nuts. Or pair hummus with sliced red pepper, jicama, celery, and sulforaphane-rich cauliflower and broccoli which can increase insulin sensitivity
Switch Your Sandwich. Go for lettuce buns, collard greens, Nori, non-grain breads, and nut-flour tortillas in place of buns, wraps, or breads made with refined flour (white or cassava).
Bowl Beautiful We love making food bowls in our house! They are simple and satisfying and a great way to load up on nutrients with lots of flavors and colors. Bowls are also a fabulous way to creatively repurpose leftovers for any palate. Sometimes we make bowls with acai and granola, sometimes with a simple grain (brown rice, quinoa, millet) paired with sauteed greens and garlic, and a protein. Alternatively, we might make a Southwest bowl with beans, avocado, veggies, and salsa. For recipe ideas, check out this cookbook: “Bowls: Vibrant Recipes with Endless Possibilities.”