How to Avoid a Midday Slump

February 9, 2023
How to Avoid a Midday Slump

Here are 6 energizing tips to conquer afternoon carb cravings.

Why do we crave carbs during the mid to late afternoon hours? Many things can send us right to the cookie jar, including:

  • Not eating enough earlier in the day
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Boredom

But just because you think you need something sugary to cure your low energy levels or mood, doesn't mean that's a good idea. In fact, if you feed your afternoon cravings with simple carbs, you're likely to crash soon after you're done eating. Simple carbohydrates, like those found in candy, cookies and soda, give you a quick energy boost that is short-lived.  As your blood sugar levels spike and then fall, they set you up for even more cravings.

Here are 6 tips to help tame your carb cravings:

  1. Don't skimp on breakfast and lunch. Make sure you're eating enough earlier in the day so you're not starving by 3 or 4 pm. Meals and snacks should contain a combination of protein, healthy fat and complex carbs. Add in some fiber to stay fuller longer.
  2. Drink water. Sometimes when you feel like you have to eat, you're really just thirsty. Drink plenty of water or unsweetened beverages to stay well hydrated.
  3. Take a walk. Physical activity can give you an energy boost. If you can't get out for a short walk, do a few stretches to release tension.
  4. Choose a healthy snack. Just because you're craving carbs doesn't mean you have to grab a candy bar. Instead, be prepared with healthy snacks that include complex carbs combined with protein and fat to give your snack staying power. Try these:
    • Apple slices with almond butter
    • High-fiber cereal with low-fat milk
    • Whole wheat crackers with hummus
    • Dried fruit and nut mix
  5. Wait a few minutes. If the vending machine is calling your name and you think nothing else will do the trick, wait 5-10 minutes and see if the urge passes.
  6. If you have to give in, do so in moderation. Sometimes the only way to stop a craving is to eat the food you can't get out of your mind. If you do so, have a small serving and then move on. Better yet, combine a bit of what you're craving with something healthier. For example, if you're craving chocolate, add a few chocolate chips into a handful of nuts.

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Date Last Reviewed: July 19, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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