Clever lunch ideas to max your afternoon energy

Clever lunch ideas to max your afternoon energy

7328 views 2 min to read

Which lunchtime foods massage the mind and give you added bounce? We asked the experts to find out.

Why does our energy tend to dip in the mid-afternoon?

Margaret Hays, Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD): Sometimes because we haven’t had enough protein at lunch or have chosen high GI lunch carbohydrates [these contain quick-release, rather than slow-release energy].

Having sugary drinks at lunch, skipping meals, going too long without food and being dehydrated might also leave you feeling lethargic.

How can we craft lunchtime meals that max energy?

Margaret Hays: Include good sources of protein in your lunch, such as lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. Also, milk cheese and yoghurt help keep us feeling satisfied. Add some vegetables or salads to your meal and choose low-GI carbs such as rice, whole grain breads, quinoa and pasta.

Which foods fight stress?

Felicity Curtain, APD: There aren’t specific foods known to reduce stress, but the way we eat can influence our mood and concentration. Enjoying regular meals and snacks is essential to ensure our bodies aren’t running on empty.

Skipping meals or going too long without food can cause our blood sugar to drop, which leads to that all familiar brain fog – plus a real drop in attention levels.

Fuelling up with good quality, nutritious foods is the best way to meet our daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – which all help to keep our bodies healthy.

When we’re feeling overwhelmed, we can tend to make less healthy food choices.  That’s why being prepared with healthy food options is important, to help us refuel with nutritious choices and remain on task throughout the afternoon.
Related content

5 ways to get your bounce back
RECIPE: Baked beetroot, sweet potato & haloumi balls

What lifestyle and snacking habits keep us at the top of our game?

Margaret Hays: Snack on fruit, nuts and dairy foods such as yoghurt, milk, smoothies or stewed fruit with yoghurt or custard. Stay well hydrated: drink plenty of water and try herbal teas.

What are some energizing lunch ideas for those short on time?

Margaret Hays: Leftovers from the night before help save time and effort in the morning. Soups with vegetables and legumes such as minestrone are delicious in winter and leftover casseroles are yummy, too. Otherwise, a salad and tinned fish or boiled eggs with quinoa or pasta goes down well.

Add nuts, olives and avocado to get good fats and flavour. Cheese goes well in salads, too!