We’ve all been there—you look up at the clock in the corner of your computer screen and wonder how the time is moving so slowly. A slump can hit hard during the workday when you have a to-do list that keeps growing and an afternoon full of meetings, but that doesn’t mean that you have to succumb to it. We’re no stranger to that feeling at Eat This, Not That!, so we searched for some easy snacks to keep in your desk drawer or office fridge that can keep energy meltdowns at bay.
If you feel an afternoon slump in your future, start your orange-peeling engines. Oranges have high levels of vitamin C, which has been shown to decrease fatigue around 2 hours after taking it in. So if you know you’re in for a slow afternoon, get ahead of the game with an orange. (Bonus: pack them pre-peeled to avoid sticky fingers while you’re typing.)
Feeling sluggish and need to make some big decisions this afternoon? Keep a few of these in the office fridge for a quick pick-me-up (but label them, or they’ll quickly get snatched by hungry coworkers). One study found that, for women at least, the probiotics in yogurt caused more activity in the decision-making areas of their brains. Greek yogurt is also packed with protein, so it will keep you going until dinnertime.
Yes, you can indulge in a sweet afternoon treat! Aside from the wonderful taste, dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can help raise focus and energy. Opt for a dark chocolate with less sugar, so that you don’t get a sugar crash later. Many brands now offer chocolate bars that contain 75-80% cacao (or even higher), which is what you’re aiming for. Just make sure to cut yourself off after a serving.
Go nuts this afternoon. Many nuts—such as almonds, cashews, and pine nuts—contain magnesium, which has been shown to improve energy levels in those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Stash a container in your designated snack drawer (if you don’t have one, get on that stat) so you don’t end up reaching for something from the vending machine.
Don’t worry about that fat content if you’re choosing almonds. Watch your serving, but keep in mind that almonds have a healthy fat that actually boosts weight loss.
Ok ok, it’s not a snack, but hear us out. Getting enough water can help you stay alert and most people aren’t getting enough of it. In studies of both men and women, dehydration caused feelings of fatigue—so fill that water bottle up!
If you’re looking for a snack that can help hydration, try prepping containers of fruits and veggies with high water content, like some cubed watermelon, cucumber slices, or strawberries. Stash them in the office fridge until you’re ready to chow down.