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Feel your energy levels slump around 3.30pm? Here’s how to get through that afternoon low.

■ Up the protein: First, ensure your lunch includes high-quality protein such as salmon, tuna, chicken, eggs or cold beef or lamb. Protein helps keep you full for longer, and there’s evidence that it’s better for alertness than a high-carb meal.
■ Eat low-GI carbs: Next, go for slower-digested low-GI carbohydrates for long-lasting energy. For instance, swap white bread for a solid grainy or rye bread if you’re having a sandwich lunch. If you order Asian takeaway, ask for hokkien noodles instead of white rice. Go for legumes such as baked beans on grainy toast, chickpeas in a salad with tuna or a lentil curry – they have one of the lowest GIs of all carbohydrates.
■ Snack right: Finally, plan to eat a small but healthy afternoon snack to make it to dinner. Forget the chocolate bar – it’s a high-fat treat that doesn’t stick with you for long. Healthy high-energy snacks are things such as a handful of almonds, walnuts or mixed nuts (ideally unsalted), fruit and nut trail mix, cheese with wholegrain crackers, a mug of lentil, minestrone or pea and ham soup, or a small fruit salad with yoghurt.
Recipe
Beat the afternoon slump with this protein-packed Chicken and chickpeas with curried yoghurt recipe.

Catherine Saxelby is an accredited nutritionist and dietitian and author of nine books, foodwatch.com.au

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