Madeleine Shaw reveals the lunch and snack options to maximise your day and power through any 3pm slump
The traditional breakfast of strong coffee and butter-soaked toast is both comforting and convenient. However, what most don’t know is that these breakfasts will in fact leave you starving and your sugar levels crashing by mid-morning. Something you can ill-afford with deadlines approaching and a lunchtime workout to attack. The same goes for your on-the-go sandwich for lunch. For me, my breakfast and lunch choices are the key to my whole day and will determine whether at 3pm I crash and lose all focus.
Avoiding afternoon slumps can be as simple as adding more protein and fats to your breakfast and lunch. Healthy quality fats, like avocado, eggs, flax seeds and chia, help to avoid major insulin (sugar) spikes which can make your energy levels go up and down through the day. Teamed with protein it will help you feel fuller for longer, curbing your cravings.
Here are my two favourite recipes for fuelling me through the day:
Breakfast: Omelette Wraps with Smoked Salmon and Spiced Chickpeas
Rich in protein from the eggs and the salmon, providing healthy fats and omega 3, this recipe will leave you full and fed with goodness. It takes 20 minutes and can be a breakfast, brunch or lunch.
Ready in 25 minutes
- 20g of toasted pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil, for frying
- 100g tinned chickpeas
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 3 Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs, whisked
- 50g hummus
- 100g smoked salmon
- 1 tbsp. chopped dill
- ½ lemon
Toast the pumpkin seeds for 2-3 mins, then leave to cool. Place a frying pan on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the chickpeas, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt, cook for 10 minutes until the chickpeas are golden. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and heat an omelette pan to a medium heat.
Coat the pan with olive oil. Pour half the egg mixture into the pan, allowing it to spread evenly. Pop the lid on and allow to cook through. Repeat with the other half of the egg mixture, creating another omelette wrap.
Cover each wrap with a generous dollop of hummus. Top with smoked salmon and chickpeas, then sprinkle over the dill and toasted pumpkin seeds, roll up and tuck in.
Lunch: Chicken Salad with Eggs and Edamame
Avocado, eggs and chicken in one dish equals a protein packed heaven. When I’m recovering from illness or find my energy levels are low and I’m craving something satisfying, this is my go-to lunch.
Ready in 25 minutes
- 2 chicken breasts (or Tempeh)
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1 tbsp. of butter or coconut oil
- 1 corn on the cob
- 200g of edamame
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp of white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cos lettuce
- 1 beef tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, sliced
Rub the chicken with the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Heat a pan with the butter/oil and cook the chicken for 8 minutes each side until cooked through. Steam the corn for 5-6 mins, then remove the kernels. Steam the edamame until cooked through. Soft boil the eggs (about 6 mins). Mix the olive oil, mustard and vinegar together well with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the lettuce, tomato, edamame, corn kernels, avocado with the dressing, top with boiled eggs sliced in half and the chicken.
The Guilt-Free Snacks
Fats and proteins early on will definitely help prevent the afternoon slump, but it doesn’t completely cut out the chance of feeling tired later on, especially if you are running on little sleep. These snacks are great for making in batches and popping into Tupperware for the week – keeping you away from the vending machine!
Raw Sticky Toffee Energy Balls
What I love about these energy balls is that you get the sweet toffee texture you get from a sticky toffee pudding, but without the added sugar. Dates are a great energy boosting ingredient that will also give you an afternoon sugar fix if needed. In only 35 minutes you’ll have 16 gorgeous snacks which will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- 1 tsp raw cacao
- 50g of raisins
- 200g of medjool dates
- 50g of desiccated coconut
- ¼ tsp of cinnamon
- ½ tsp of vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. of coconut oil
Super simple – just blend everything together in a food processor, roll into 16 balls and place in the freezer for half an hour to set. After 30 mins, pop into some Tupperware and transfer into the fridge.
Tip: If you find the energy balls sticking to your hands, damp them with a little water and your energy balls will come out smooth & round every time.
Red Lentil and Harissa Hummus
Hummus dip is a classic snack, but one that should never be underestimated. Lentils are great for stabilizing blood sugar and also a good source of protein. Whip this hummus up in 20 minutes on a Sunday and take it in a pot along with some carrot and celery batons.
- 150g of red lentils
- 3 tbsp. of olive oil
- 3 tbsp. of tomato concentrate
- 2 tsp of cumin
- ½ tsp of cayenne
- ½ lime juiced
- Salt and pepper
Place the lentils in a sieve and wash them with warm water until the water runs clear. Place in a pot and cover with water, add a pinch of salt and cook for 15 minutes until cooked through. Mix the oil, tomato concentrate, cumin, cayenne, lime juice and a big pinch of salt and pepper together in a bowl. Once the lentils are done, mash them up until almost smooth, then stir in the harissa dressing and serve with crudités.
And finally…Nut Butter-Filled Dates
All you need is some Medjool dates and your favourite nut butter – I like to use almond. Dates are great way to fix a sugar craving and the nut butter helps release energy more slowly, so you don’t crash later on. This snack is great for when you have very little time to prep in the evening, as you can simply buy some dates and a pot of nut butter and store at work for when you need it.
They are super easy to make just pop a teaspoon of nut butter inside a date and you’re ready to go. If you don’t have any dates to hand, why not grill some bananas and munch them with nut butter, instead.