7 food & drinks you can add to your lunch to get you over that afternoon hump.

Do you remember the 11 o’clock ‘Diet Coke Break’? Nothing to do with the man… at 11am your body is generally craving that second cup of coffee. The morning chit-chat ends and you then feel ready to dive headfirst into that pile of work with the anticipation of getting out of work early. You pop your head up at 12pm for lunchtime and all feels well with the world again. But just around 2:30pm, everything changes. All of that energy you honed throughout the morning suddenly evaporates. Suddenly you’re overwhelmed with exhaustion.

This is the “2:30pm Feeling” (or some cases, meltdown!), which is the reason why what you eat at lunchtime is important.

If you want to maximise your afternoons and stay in touch with your creative side, try and include these foods and drinks into your lunch and your boss will be thanking you.

Chocolate (the easy one)

Now, we are not suggesting eating slices upon slices of chocolate cake (however you might find this hard to believe if you follow us on Instagram), but a few squares of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa).

The nutritious flavanols found in chocolate helps to dilate your vessels, which gives a better blood flow. It also contains magnesium, which helps to decrease stress and release happy hormones such as serotonin and endorphins as well as a natural dose of caffeine for energy. This combination will really give your creativity a boost!

Matcha or Green Tea (skip the coffee)

Matcha (traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies) is ‘bang on trend’ at the moment, but if you have never heard of it… it is Green Tea’s super cool big brother! Green teas don’t contain the same amount of caffeine as coffee, but how it is released into your body is a better (arguably) way to conserve your stamina and keep you alert. This is down to the amino acid analogue (ask Wikipedia for more on that one) called Theanine.

Theanine is POWERFUL (even for weight loss) as it promotes the production of alpha waves in your brain by improving cognition and decreasing stress. Rather than a caffeine burst, alpha waves help the caffeine to be released slowly so you avoid that sudden crash and maintain productivity.

Seaweed (keeping it Far East)

Probably not the first thing that springs to mind after waiting 5hrs for lunchtime, but seaweed is jam-packed with the essential amino acid Tyrosine. It is probably the most important amnio acid for the production of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine.

Dopamine is associated with ‘reward’. Whenever we do something that our brain/body thinks is ‘positive’ (winning the lottery or eating a cake for instance) we will experience a rush of dopamine which serves to reinforce that behaviour/stimulus and help you tap into your abstract thoughts.

So, if you are struggling with finishing that proposal, or coming up with that new creative brand, pop some classic sushi rolls on your plate, add seaweed dressing to your salad or into your green smoothies to get your brain thinking.

Avocados (keeping it green)

Probably the most difficult fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) to pick in a supermarket (as you don’t know if it will be ripe or mushy when you cut it) but avocados are probably the most essential fruit you need to think creatively as it enhances blood flow and delivers the oxygen needed for your brain cells.

Avocados are also a great source of fibre, which reduces hunger. Not the most exciting addition to lunch, but throw in some onions and tomatoes, and make a brain-boosting guacamole!

Berries (keeping it fruity)

Like seaweed, berries contain tyrosine (if you skipped seaweed… go back to find out more). There are many berries to choose from, but elderberries, cranberries and strawberries contain the most. Berries also help your brain cells by activating the protein which is in-coded in humans by the BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which helps with survival, growth and differentiation of new neurons needed for creative thinking.

If the idea of eating fruit bores you, remember that some of the most innovative people in history ‘claim’ to have been fruitarians at some stage in their life, including Steve Jobs (Apple) and Leonardo da Vinci.

Walnuts (let’s get nutty)

Walnuts are not just for Christmas; they are brain shaped for a reason! The neuroprotective compounds they contain such as melatonin, antioxidants and omega-3 help to limit brain damage during strokes and brain injuries.

Walnuts do nothing to improve your mood, however, they increase cognitive performance and inferential reasoning. If you don’t fancy cracking walnuts at your desk, try and buy healthy natural walnut snacks rather sweet snacks.

Alcohol (yep… alcohol)

Yes… that cheeky lunchtime glass of wine or pint might be behind your afternoon ‘Eureka’ moment. Now, we are not encouraging going ‘out on the lash’ at lunchtime, but alcohol tends to impede executive thinking and boost creative thinking.

And on that note…

Next time you feel like you want to slump over your desk, think about what you had for lunch and try and make some food swaps tomorrow.