The Mid-Day Slump
It's 3 pm. Your mind is wandering and your productivity has come to a grinding halt. If you're like most people, that means it's time to reach for a cup of coffee or a candy bar to give you some extra oomph before quitting time.
But quick-fix solutions like caffeine and sugar ultimately deplete your energy rather than enhance it; the former can leave you feeling jittery (and interfere with needed sleep later on) while the latter can lead to a post-sugar-high crash.
Bananas and Watermelon. These fruit faves rev up energy as fast as sugary sweets do, thanks to the glycemic effect (a measure that indicates how much a food increases blood sugar levels). In fact, ripe bananas rate almost as high as table sugar on the energy-upping index.
But unlike sugar, fresh fruit gives you a stamina boost plus the nutritional bonus of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Bonus: There's no food quite as portable as a banana. And while watermelon can be a bit messy to eat at your desk from the rind, cut some into chunks the night before and stash in a plastic container. (Dates, mangoes, papaya and pineapple also rank high on the energy-revving scale.)
In fact, mashed and baked potatoes are on a par with pure honey when it comes to how quickly they're digested and absorbed into your bloodstream.
Bonus: Keep a bag of baby carrots in your desk drawer, and you'll be less likely to make an afternoon trip to the candy machine.
Cornflakes and Shredded Wheat
Even without added sugar, wholesome cereals such as muesli, corn flakes, instant oatmeal, puffed rice and shredded wheat top the list of breakfast foods that provide quick energy.
These morning eats tend to be digested slowly, which means that blood-sugar levels stay stable, and adding skim milk and fruit to the mix helps produce a slow but steady release of glucose into the blood stream to fuel your muscles and brain throughout the day.
If you're not drinking at least eight cups of water a day, especially in warm weather or if you work out regularly, you're setting yourself up for dehydration and lagging energy. Don't wait until you feel parched to fill your glass: At that point your body is already suffering.
Make a habit of setting a full glass of water on your desk all day long.
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