How many times do you hit the 3pm wall? Most afternoons, even on a fairly light work day, can seem almost impossible to get through without feeling fatigued and unfocused. You’re ready to call it a day and veg out in your favorite spot on the couch. The problem may not actually be your energy levels. That 3pm wall could be a result of the food that you’re eating for lunch.
The food that you eat during the day affects you more than you might think. A bad choice at lunch or extra snacks at your desk could be having a direct impact on your mind’s performance.
What Are You Choosing To Eat During the Day?
Many workers tend to grab a fast lunch when they’re hungry because they have limited time. Fast lunches generally mean a burger, a sandwich, or maybe some pizza. It is pretty common to follow these foods up with a soda. The result is that you feel energized for a couple of hours, but the glucose that is created from these foods ends up burning away very quickly. By 3pm, you’re not only feeling hungry, but you are feeling tired because the glucose has peaked and now it’s very, very low.
Healthy lunch options aren’t always feasible. Fast lunch options feel like they are the most efficient option that there is. Saving 15 minutes because you grabbed a double cheeseburger through the drive-thru, however, could be costing you 120 minutes or more at work thanks to the weaker performance your body has with the weaker fuel that you’ve given yourself.
How Can This All Be Changed?
It is important to plan out your day’s eating choices before you end up getting hungry. When the body gets hungry, temptations tend to dominate the choices that are made instead of the healthy foods. In other words, when your stomach is growling, you’re more likely to eat junk food than a salad with low-fat dressing. Choose where you’re going to eat when you get to work instead of making it a last minute decision.
When plans are made, it becomes a lot easier to resist high fat, high sodium foods that taste delicious, but are terrible for productivity.
Changing how you eat at work can also help a lot. Your body has a relatively small gas tank, which means a large meal is only going to get you so far. The spikes in blood sugar make you feel great, but then you feel lousy. Smaller meals that you can eat throughout the day, instead of a high sugar snack or a few crackers or chips, will help you get past that wall much more effectively.
That’s not to say snacking is a bad thing. Healthy snacking, when it is planned out, will dominate your eating habits. Place visual cues to eat healthier foods, such as placing a can of nuts on your desk. Have some fruit around. The vital nutrients will help you think more clearly and limit the temptations to eat unhealthy foods at lunch.
In return, you’ll break down that 3pm wall and stay strong throughout the rest of the afternoon.