You had 8 hours of sleep, woke up feeling fresh and even managed to fit in a couple of slices of toast and a coffee. You get to work, knuckle down and power right through your to-do list.
But 10:30 am rolls around and you hit a wall. Tired, barely able to keep your eyes open and dreaming of the moment your head can hit the pillow. Then the cravings hit. Another round of toast, a chocolate bar or two, plus 2 or 3 strong coffees to see you through till lunch. Damn it.
Sound familiar? You’re experiencing the mid-morning slump. This morning fatigue is caused by a crash in your blood sugar levels, leading to an intense feeling of tiredness, even after a good night’s rest.
So what’s the deal with the mid-morning slump; and more importantly, how can you make sure that it never hits you again?
What causes a mid-morning slump?
The dreaded mid-morning crash is caused by turbulent spikes and falls in your blood sugar levels.
When you eat something high in carbohydrates, your body breaks the carbs down into glucose (sugar). When the glucose (sugar) floods your bloodstream, it causes what’s commonly known as a ‘sugar rush’, leaving you feeling wide awake, bright and ready to take on the day.
But this ‘sugar rush’ is short-lived. The pancreas quickly gets to work producing insulin, in a bid to remove all the sugar from your bloodstream. This surge of insulin causes your blood sugar levels to plummet, leading to a ‘sugar crash’. It’s at this point that you start to feel tired, unproductive and craving more sugary and carb-heavy foods to pick your energy back up.
While it might not be what you want to hear, mid-morning slumps are essentially down to what you’re eating for breakfast. Typical western breakfast choices—think toast with jam, bagels, a bowl of cereal or a granola bar on-the-go—are chocked full of refined carbs and sugar. They give you a huge glucose spike first thing in the morning, followed by an immediate crash. Essentially, they set the day up for a repeated cycle of eating, spiking, crashing and craving.
Eat, spike, crash, crave, repeat…
How to avoid the mid-morning slump
Mid-morning slumps may well be common, but they’re not necessary. In fact, if you’re up for making some nutrient-savvy changes to your morning meal, they’re totally avoidable.
Eating a balanced breakfast with fewer carbohydrates, but plenty of protein, healthy fats and fiber, will provide you with even, sustained energy throughout the day and prevent yawn-inducing blood sugar crashes.
Cut down on sugar and carbohydrates
We’re not going to tell you to cut out sugar or carbs completely. But if you’re serious about avoiding the mid-morning slump, reducing and moderating your consumption of processed, sugar-packed, simple carbs at breakfast is key.
Ideally, try to avoid high-sugar breakfast cereals, cereal bars, breakfast biscuits, sweetened instant oats, muffins, bagels and ultra-processed breakfast drinks. Remember to check those labels. Even cereals marketed as ‘health foods’, like granola, muesli and smoothies, are often packed with sugar.
What about toast, you ask? It might be a lot of peoples’ go-to breakfast, but toast isn’t ideal if you’re determined to avoid energy slumps. Bread is high in refined carbs and will cause your blood sugars to spike. And as a couple of slice of toast for breakfast provides little to no micronutrients or fiber, it’s not exactly the most nutritious start to your day.
Include fiber, protein and healthy fats
A balanced breakfast that combines fiber, protein and healthy fats will give you sustained energy throughout the day and help to prevent blood sugar spikes. These nutrient-dense foods also take longer to digest, so they’ll keep you fuller for longer and curb those irritating mid-morning hunger pangs.
But what about ‘good’ carbs? If you’re serious about avoiding the slump, it’s best to go low-carb or at least avoid simple carbs like white bread, pastries and cereal. Make sure any carbs you do include are fibrous, complex carbohydrates like veggies, whole grains and legumes.
Here are our top 5 blood-sugar-balancing breakfast ideas…
- Scrambled eggs, or an omelette, with vegetables
- Oats with nut butter and berries
- Greek yogurt with seeds, nuts and berries
- Avocado and eggs on a slice of wholegrain toast
- Chia seed pudding topped with berries
Love a slice of toast and cereal for the sheer sake of convenience? We’ve got you! If (like many of us) you don’t have the time to mess around with ingredients first thing in the morning, Purition can help.
A glass of Purition has a negligible impact on blood sugar levels, so you can wave goodbye to that mid-morning slump without having to spend more time in the kitchen. Remember that winning nutritional combination of protein, healthy fats and fiber we spoke about earlier? Purition offers it all, in a quick shake. No prep, no cook, no fuss. Just an easy breakfast that’ll keep you alert and focused until lunchtime.
Add milk and blend for a balanced, low sugar, low-carb meal your body will love. It’s minimally-processed and made with real, whole-food ingredients from nature’s bounty.
Purition is an ideal breakfast for anyone wishing to avoid the mid-morning slump. It can prepared in several ways: