You know the afternoon slump — when we find ourselves so overcome by drowsiness that we want to crawl under our desk and nap? Well, we are likely making it worse with poor lunch choices. That tired sandwich shop and fat-laden salad bar, which seem like healthy places on the surface, aren’t really doing us any favors. The tryptophan in your turkey sand and the fat in most salad-bar salads can induce drowsiness after eating. One way to control the ingredients in our meals is, of course, to make them ourselves. Groan. I know! But make-ahead lunches don’t have to be a trial. Here are 17 lunches that you can prepare on Sunday that will get you through the entire week and help you avoid that afternoon slump.
That slump, by the way, has a name. It’s known as the “post-lunch dip,” and it’s a natural result of our internal rhythms calling for a time out. For those of us who wake around 6:00am, by mid-day our circadian rhythm slams into another physiological cycle — homeostasis — that has been quietly keeping track of how long we’ve been awake. Sure, we can slog through it with a cuppa joe — as long as it’s not laden with sugar. Drinking plenty of water will also help. But a lunch that we make ahead is going to deliver exactly the ingredients that we need for sustained energy.
Our bodies need energy to function — not just to work — but to simply breathe and exist. We get our energy from food, which is broken down into glucose by our digestive system and triggers all kinds of responses within our body. As our blood sugar rises, insulin is produced to bring sugar from the blood and into the cells, where it is used for energy. At the same time the increase in other hormones like serotonin, lead to drowsiness.
The best way to short-circuit our natural tendency to want to snooze in the afternoon is to eat a well-balanced lunch with about four ounces of protein, a cup of healthy starches and the rest of the plate filled with vegetables, and to drink plenty of water and avoid sugar.
Got a favorite make-ahead lunch to share? Tag us on Instagram @britandco. Come on — you know you want to!
(Photo via May I Have That Recipe)