The first question to ask yourself is ‘are you eating before you exercise, or going into the workout on an empty tank and thus starting with a deficit?’ Find something that your stomach can handle (for me that’s always a banana and peanut butter on toast) so you don’t go into the session depleted.
Megan Forbes, a Boulder, Colorado-based dietician who specifically works with many competitive triathletes, recommends smoothies for post-workout recovery fuel that contain carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes and antioxidants. According to Forbes: “About 30-45g of simple carbs and more than 10g of protein post-exercise would make for an ideal recovery meal.”
Don’t skimp just because it’s lunch. Be sure your lunch includes a good balance of veggies, protein and carbs, and healthy forms of all of those foods that will sustain you. Examples include sweet potato and chicken, or a vegetable omelette. If you have a second workout after work, avoid roughage that’s harder to digest (i.e. raw veggies) during lunch.
Thirdly, are you allowing yourself a few low-glycaemic snacks during the day to keep your blood sugar steady? Consider bringing to work a handful of almonds, a few slices of avocado, and/or an apple to keep you going between meals.
Finally, are you relying on caffeine to keep you alert throughout the day? Like many drugs, your body will crave it and make that lull even harder to overcome. I used to find myself relying on a blueberry muffin and a coffee about 2pm during my working day. I’m not sure if it was the actual food I craved or the habit of walking down to the café that led to this. Consequently, the previously mentioned method of bringing in healthy snacks should help you to resist the urge to reach for unhealthy foods during the day, and should put a stop to your mid-afternoon lull.