To avoid a midday energy crash, ‘what you eat and drink can definitely make a difference,’ says dietitian

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Key Points
  • Getting sleepy in the middle of the day is typical, according to dietitian Marisa Moore.
  • Try eating foods that help regulate and boost energy like fruit, dark chocolate, beef jerky, and nuts.
  • Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day: Healthy adults need four to six cups.

First thing in the morning (and after that initial coffee), you may find you have a burst of energy to start the day. But by noon, you may notice a bit of a slump in your energy levels, making the prospect of a meeting- and work-filled afternoon more daunting. Maybe a post-lunch nap sounds pretty appealing.

"It's really common for many people to experience a dip in their energy at some point during the day, either mid morning or right [after lunch]," says Marisa Moore, a culinary and integrative dietitian. This can make it tough to focus and get your work done.

"When I'm working with someone, the first thing I talk to them about is making sure that they actually have enough sleep," she says. A healthy adult should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

"If you know you're getting enough sleep," she says, "what you eat and drink can definitely make a difference."

Here are four foods and one drink that could help boost your energy levels, according to experts.

Whole fruit

Foods that will help with that midday energy boost are ones that "aren't going to mess with your blood sugar too much," says Max Lugavere, health and science journalist and bestselling author whose latest cookbook, "Genius Kitchen," is out this March.

When your blood sugar is too low, it can leave you feeling dizzy and weak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When it's too high, it can cause headaches and fatigue, according to the Cleveland Clinic medical center.  

"I'm a huge fan of blueberries midday or whole fruit" like apples or grapefruit, Lugavere says. Whole fruit is "a great source of satiating fiber and water and it doesn't spike your blood sugar too much."

Dark chocolate

"I consider dark chocolate a genius food," says Lugavere. "It has the capacity of boosting blood flow to the brain because it contains compounds called nitrates which support blood flow. Dark chocolate is also a wonderful source of magnesium which helps with energy production."

One caveat before you reach for just any bar of dark chocolate: "I always recommend 72% or higher," he says, adding that, "a higher cacao percentage means less sugar and more of the important nutrients."

When I'm working with someone, the first thing I talk to them about is making sure that they actually have enough sleep.
Marisa Moore
Culinary and integrative dietitian

Beef jerky

Protein is highly satiating, which means it won't leave you snacking for long.

"I think beef jerky is definitely satiating, but along with beef you get some really cool nutrients like creatine, which has been shown to support brain energy metabolism, which of course is really important midday" when we want to keep our energy levels up, Lugavere says.

Nuts and seeds

"I'm also a big fan of keeping foods like nuts and seeds as a snack on hand," says Moore. These can include nuts like almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, and walnuts, and seeds like pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

With these "you get your carbs, fiber, protein and healthy fats all in one package," she says. "Carbs are important for energy but the protein and the fiber really do help to provide a little more stability and help to give us that steady and sustained energy that we need."

Nuts are also a good source of B vitamins and magnesium, she says, both of which help the body with energy production.


Finally, both Moore and Lugavere recommend drinking plenty of water ― when you're tired and just generally throughout the day.

"Being well hydrated is really the first step in energy production," says Moore. "Water is essential for many different cellular processes in the body. And it makes up about 60% of our body. So without it you might start to feel sluggish or dehydrated, and that can definitely slow you down."

Generally healthy people should drink four to six cups of water every day, according to Harvard Medical School.

"Sometimes all it takes is just a big glass of water to get a boost in our energy levels," says Lugavere.

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