When your to-do list is pages long, there are few things more frustrating than feeling like you're sapped of all energy by lunchtime. That's why it's so important to start your day with a healthy breakfast that keeps you feeling full well past your morning commute and into the early afternoon. And sure, it can feel like a challenge to find food to keep you energized until lunchtime, especially in the haze of waking up. But with a little bit knowledge and prep, you can creating a healthy morning meal plan that will help you be the best, most productive version of yourself with as few mental space-outs as possible.
The goal is to eat a breakfast that's full of wholesome foods in order to maximize your energy and help you feel full longer. That will, ideally, help you keep your focus on work rather than your rumbling stomach. You also want to eat something healthy that you'll actually enjoy, because, at the end of the day, food is more than fuel. Fortunately, it's possible to both eat well for breakfast and conquer the day without the dreaded mid-afternoon slump.
If you're looking for a place to start, here are five foods (and drinks) to eat in the morning so you don't feel dead by 2 p.m.
The best thing you can eat—er, drink—in the morning is water. Chances are good that you’re dehydrated when you wake up, so drinking a full glass of water will get your body back in balance. Plus, staying hydrating will help you focus better and stave off post-lunch headaches—so make sure water is a part of your breakfast every day.
Citrus is an energizing scent, especially in the morning when you need to wake up. The scent of lemon is especially potent; just smelling it can improve mental stimulation, according to the National Sleep Foundation. So drop a slice of lemon into that glass of water. You could also have a whole grapefruit or a glass of orange juice in the morning. Just make sure there’s no added sugar in your juice, otherwise you’ll be headed straight for a mid-afternoon sugar crash.
You can't go wrong with oatmeal for breakfast. It's a whole grain and packed with fiber, meaning it'll keep you feeling fuller for longer. There's also evidence that eating a meal with a low glycemic index, like oatmeal, will give you better endurance and more energy throughout the day. The best part might be that you can trick out your oatmeal with whatever ingredients strike your fancy or just have lying around. But pro tip? You can never go wrong with throwing on all of the seasonal fruit.
Be it slivers of almond on your bowl of oatmeal or a dollop of almond butter on a slice of whole-grain toast or even some roasted almonds in your bowl of cereal, eat some almonds for breakfast to help yourself feel fuller all day. It's also a great source of protein, and getting some protein in the morning is also correlated with feeling less hungry as the day goes on.
Coffee's actually pretty good for your health, and caffeine can be a crucial ingredient in lasting through the day. The trick is timing it properly. So instead of drinking a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up, wait until you get to the office, around 9:30 or 10 a.m. That way, you'll get the most bang for your cup, and you won't risk the mid-afternoon caffeine slump.