It’s coming. You can feel it. You’re trying desperately to will it away, but, inevitably the clock strikes 3:00pm. Suddenly, you are exhausted. The thought of striking the letters on the computer keyboard seems like a daunting task, not to mention you can barely keep your eyes open.
‘Argh!’ you think to yourself. When this happened yesterday, you swore it wouldn’t happen again. As you walk to the café to get a cup of coffee, you wonder how to avoid this midday slump tomorrow. Here’s the good news: there are steps you can take to energize your body throughout the day and avoid this desperate feeling.
The best place to start is with breakfast. Before we even talk about what to eat, let’s recognize that it’s important TO EAT breakfast. I have talked about this before and suggested smoothies for a quick breakfast, remember your body has been in a state of rest, relaxation, and recharging for several hours. It needs fuel in the form of carbohydrates and protein to get going in the morning. Instead of processed cereal and milk, why not go for oatmeal with almonds and blueberries? Or prepare a couple of hardboiled eggs that you can grab-n-go in a hurry. Pair them with a brown rice cake with almond butter and jelly and you’re starting your day off on the right foot.
It’s also important to remember to drink water throughout the day. Dehydration is certain to cause sleepiness and fatigue. Imagine that a few glasses of water could be the difference between your 3pm exhaustion and vitality.
Don’t forget to put some thought into your snacks. You want to be sure to stay away from excess fats and sugars, which are in candy bars and most packaged food. The fatty foods will make you feel lethargic and the sugars will provide an initial spike, but then you’ll feel the afternoon slump as you come down from the sugar high. Take a few minutes at home to prepare trail mix with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Goji berries, and Incan berries. For sweetness, you can add some cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips (I prefer Enjoy Life brand because their products are free of common allergens).
The midday madness doesn’t have to continue. You can control how your body feels by nourishing it with healthy food (and water) throughout the day.
In my next blog I will give some more suggestions for healthy snacks to help you through the slump.
Are you eating real, whole food as much as you’d like?
I have found that the best possible way to live a healthy lifestyle and have healthy and delicious meals all week long is by meal prepping once for the whole week.
It saves me time, money, and stress, all the while allowing me to stay on track with eating healthy.
STEP 1: PLAN & SHOP
I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes and meals for the upcoming week. I create a list based on what I will have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. I use a weekly shopping list as my guide and then I’m off to the store!
STEP 2: PREPARE THE FOOD
When I get home from the store I keep out the items I plan to use for my meal prep. I pull up my meal plans and get to washing and cooking! Throughout the week, I typically have a protein shake for breakfast, but I find that many of my breakfast recipes are great for mid-morning snacks, and/or if I am in need of a breakfast on-the-go.
I generally prepare big batches of veggies. I start with washing the greens, then set aside to dry and move onto slicing, dicing, and dividing veggies into containers for use in cooking and salads.
The new thing that I am planning to do for my family is, I am planning on making sautéed chicken or lean protein, I will cook it in big batches in my biggest pan or crock pot! (Fingers crossed on this considering I am a vegetarian). That way, I am only prepping chicken and/or lean meat once for all the recipes! I will store the extra chicken in the freezer for use later. It would be helpfull to have an extra freezer, ours is so small.
STEP 3: PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECIPES
To keep it simple, I make a large salad in advance and then add the extras when I’m ready to eat it. If I’m taking it to go, I divide it into containers or use as leftovers.
Also, as I have mentioned before I have veggies all cut up and ready to serve for dinner, snacks or to add to salads. This makes meals so much more simple for us.
For dinners, I typically make two favorite main dishes, which allows me to prepare and freeze in advance making it easy for during the week. Now I am not saying I do this successfully every week but it is my goal :)
STEP 4: PUT IT ALL AWAY!
After all the food is prepped and the recipes are made, I put everything in containers and place it in the fridge! That way, I have delicious, fresh, whole foods for all meals during the week in minutes.
If you are still scratching your head, don’t let it discourage you!!! It can take time to learn and get in the swing of things. Also it takes time to find recipes that work for you and your entire family. Take your time, try different recipes, make it fun! Take a vote at the end of each meal on whether it is a keeper or not, and seriously the more you keep it a family thing the more everyone will be on board with changes that you make.
The biggest hurdle most people have to clean eating isn’t the food. Fresh, homemade, organic food is delicious! It isn’t giving up those ‘unclean’ foods. There may be that one food you just can’t let go of, but that isn’t the issue either. The issue is the bottom line, that line item on the budget when you try to switch it all to clean, organic, GMO-free food, hit the checkout line for the first time, and almost faint when the total comes up. Maybe you didn’t even make it that far. Maybe you picked up the package of organic cereal and took one look at the tag on the shelf and walked the other way thinking, ‘How do people afford to eat this way?’
I can tell you, unless you have a whole lot of discretionary income, changing over your way of eating and shopping doesn’t usually happen overnight. We make small changes and keep looking for ways to eat clean on our budget and find ways to funnel more money over to the food line. It is an investment, but I can tell you that it is one worth making.
To help you out, here are my top 8 tips for eating clean on a budget:
Do you have any local resources to share or any tips that can help save a buck? I would love to hear them, leave a comment below.
Both chia seeds and flax seeds top the list of superfoods. They are both easy to add to your salads or smoothies for a nutritional punch. And since I have recently talked about smoothies as a breakfast option both of these are a very good addition to those morning treats. But is one better than the other? Let’s compare.
Other good sources of 13% RDA
Calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium
Zinc, magnesium, copper, 15% RDA B1
More antioxidants than blueberries more lignans
Depending on what source you check out, either could win out. If you had to choose based on the above comparison, it looks like chia seeds win out, but not by a landslide. Use both, I do. I will admit chia is my favorite though :). Each do have their own nutritional benefits though and are an easy addition to your healthy diet where variety is key.
1. I love that your decadence tastes sinfully delicious, yet it’s the “healthiest” of fats.
2. I love that you make my skin beautiful. The antioxidants in avocados help to get rid of toxins that promote premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. A lot of the toxins on your facial skin are the residue of makeup. Applying 1 mashed avocado as a facial mask and leaving it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing will help to remove these toxins and soften the skin. I promise, in the end, you will not look like the Wicked Witch of the West.
3. I love to use you as a spread on my Ezekiel bread toast with a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
4. I love that you make my hair shiny. One avocado mashed and mixed together with 1 egg and your favorite essential oil is great for conditioning your hair. The healthy oils in the avocado help to moisturize and soften dry and brittle hair, and the vitamin E helps to restore a natural shine to your hair. To obtain these benefits simply massage the avocado and egg mixture into your hair and scalp and leave in for about 20 minutes. Then wash and condition with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
5. I love to use you in my salads. Any kind of salad.
6. I love to use you on my sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.
7. I love that you complete me. Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body, because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet. Highest protein content of any fruit (yes, it’s a fruit).
8. I love to use you in my smoothies to add some creamy richness. (use this instead of banana in my last post smoothie recipe)
9. I love to scramble you in my egg white omelet.
10. I love that you help me with my ABCs. While avocados have a high caloric count (one avocado is 320 calories), the various nutrients and “healthy” fats make it a must-eat. They are an alphabet of vitamins. One avocado provides your body with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Perhaps the biggest health benefit of avocados is that by adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients. This means that when you combine other fat burning foods with avocado, you can improve your nutrient absorption up to 400%!
Oh, yes, I truly do love you.
I am a wife and a mother of two, one boy one girl . They are the loves of my life! And also the reason I do what I do. I have to be able to keep up!