photo courtesy of Pixabay
by Elizabeth Magee, LRD
It's no secret that when we eat better, we feel better. Sometimes we don’t even realize how crummy we feel until we make changes to our diet and or lifestyle.
But what if you’re already doing all the things we know we should, eating right, exercising, not stressing too much, sleeping enough and you’re desperately feeling like a nap? This is me a lot of the time. Most days, I really do try to eat right and I’m usually successful – not perfect, let’s keep it real. I work out most days, even when I really am not feeling like it. I try to go to bed at a decent time. I try to keep my stress in check, but that is way easier said than done for me.
I still would take a nap every day if I was given the choice. Sometimes we’re just tired from life. Sometimes it could be due to an illness or family stressors. Sometimes it’s just not in our control. But for a lot of us, what we eat is usually a choice we’re making, and we have control for the most part.
So, what can we eat to help fight off the yawns?
Here are some options. Prepare yourselves, you may have heard this before. 😉
- Veggies. I’m probably always going to say we should eat more veggies. Keep on doing it if you’re getting them in. The goal is five or more servings per day (props to people already doing this). Leafy greens are a great addition.
- Fruits. Whatever kind you like, whatever form you like. I’m not thinking apple crisp here, but more fresh, frozen, or canned!
- Whole grains – they add fiber which helps prevent blood sugar spikes that can make you sleepy. Focus on trying to make the switch on a few foods like whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Could you have oatmeal instead of cereal for breakfast? Add a little granola to your yogurt. Flax seed can go unnoticed but still provide a nutritious boost of fiber and healthy fats (mix a little in your oatmeal or maybe your muffin mix).
- Healthy Fats – this could mean snacking on nuts instead of crackers. If you like fish, opt for that more often for a protein choice. Instead of reaching for the butter grab the olive oil or canola oil. Add avocado to your salad, or maybe as a side with your morning eggs. Peanut butter in your oatmeal or on your toast is great too.
Other things that may help you fight off that afternoon nap:
- Water, water, water. I know I’m guilty of shorting myself here. It’s a work in progress.
- Avoiding those energy drinks. Who are we kidding? They just aren’t good for us. They might seem like a quick fix, but we usually pay for it later with a crash in energy or a sleepless night.
- Skipping meals won’t do you a favor. How will you ever get all those veggies in if you’re skipping meals?? Keep that body fueled!
- Have a snack if you need it. Fill in those gaps! Nuts are a perfectly portable snack idea.
These tips are definitely not rocket science or even breaking news but if you get in the habit, you might break that afternoon nap cycle!
Elizabeth Magee is a licensed registered dietitian. Her posts appear monthly on OYT.
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