Finding it hard to get through a day without a cup of caffeine on hand? People often hit an energy slump at 3pm, and if they’re not reaching for another coffee, they are often looking for a sugary pick-me-up. Discover what you can eat for better concentration.
The first thing is to include meals and snacks that contain healthy complex carbohydrates, which provide you with glucose to fuel your body and brain so you can concentrate. Complex carbohydrates are rich in fibre, so their sugars are absorbed slowly into the blood stream, providing you with a steady supply of energy. Good complex carbohydrate choices include wholegrain bread, wholemeal crackers and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, as well as whole oats.
It is also important to include protein in every meal which will keep you feeling full for longer. Good protein choices include legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, yoghurt, fish, chicken, lean meat and tofu. Steer clear of sugary snacks. Instead go for nuts, seeds or a tub of yoghurt which will keep your blood sugar levels stable. When blood sugar levels drop so do your energy levels – that’s when you crave sugary foods or stimulants like coffee to keep you going.
Instead of coffee, try a caffeine free drink such as dandelion root coffee (a great liver cleanser), or caffeine free chai tea, or herbal teas such as green tea, peppermint, chamomile, or ginger.
A vitamin B and magnesium supplement will help with your energy levels and support your nervous system during stress. Good food sources of B vitamins and magnesium include legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals. An omega-3 rich fish-oil supplement (500mg per day) is also great for healthy brain function. Other food sources of omega-3 include salmon, mackerel and chia seeds or oil.
Try these lunch and snack options to maintain your concentration.
- Wholegrain sandwich with turkey or roast chicken and salad
- Wholegrain wrap with falafel, hummus and salad
- Brown rice and lentil salad
- Salmon and quiona salad
- Chickpea vegie burger with salad and chutney
- Lentil and vegie soup with wholegrain toast
- Poached eggs and avocado on grainy toast
- Trail mix, including raw nuts, seeds and dried fruits
- Wholegrain crackers, vegetable sticks and hummus
- Wholegrain rice cakes with cottage cheese, tomato and sprouts
- Fruit smoothie: milk, yoghurt, frozen banana and berries, LSA mix (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds). You can add a tablespoon of protein powder here too.
For more healthy food ideas, visit our Foodie Friday recipe section on our Facebook page here.