When afternoon arrives, many coffee addicts feel like they’ve hit a wall. As the effects of their morning cup of joe wear off, their energy levels plummet. Another cup of coffee might bring that energy back, but it will also keep them wired well into the evening, disrupting sleep patterns and causing even more fatigue the next day. As such, even the most avid coffee drinkers could do with a few caffeine alternatives for energy in the afternoon.
Even if you aren’t a big coffee drinker, you likely still experience a loss of energy in the afternoon. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to boost your afternoon energy levels without chugging an energy drink or taking a nap. The trick is to find healthy alternatives that will provide sustained energy without involving caffeine.
Read on to learn more about caffeine alternatives for energy that won’t keep you up all night.
What Causes the Afternoon Crash?
To identify the best caffeine alternatives for energy in the afternoon, it’s helpful to understand what causes that afternoon crash in the first place. There are a number of contributing factors, ranging from what you ate for lunch to your natural circadian rhythm.
It’s perfectly natural to feel tired in the early afternoon, but that natural drowsiness can also be exacerbated by things like sugar, caffeine wearing off, dehydration, and a lack of sleep the night before. You might be tempted to take a power nap or reach for another caffeinated beverage, but both options could continue to mess with your natural sleep patterns.
Instead, it’s better to replenish your energy by doing things like:
- Going outside for natural light and vitamin D
- Drinking water
- Eating a healthy, energy-producing snack
In short, you want to choose healthy, natural caffeine alternatives for energy that will sustain you throughout the afternoon — without wrecking your sleep schedule.
4 Caffeine Alternatives for Energy in the Afternoon
Feeling that afternoon fatigue creeping in? Here are four caffeine alternatives for energy that won’t keep you up all night.
While many drink coffee — or other caffeinated beverages — specifically for the caffeine, there’s also a comfort factor to curling up with a piping hot cup or grabbing a cold afternoon refreshment. If that’s important to you, try replacing your afternoon latte or iced coffee with a caffeine-free peppermint herbal tea.
While there have been few studies on the exact effects of peppermint tea, peppermint oil and extracts have been shown to offer a number of health benefits, including increased concentration, memory, and energy, as well as headache relief and muscle relaxation. Plus, peppermint tea will help to replenish fluids if you’re dehydrated.
For another drinkable source of caffeine-free energy, mix up a healthy smoothie with energy-supplying macros (proteins, fats, and carbs). Instead of giving you a quick energy boost and then an equally quick crash, the macros from the smoothie will fill you up with sustained energy to last the rest of the afternoon.
Ingredients you could add for healthy macro content include:
- Fresh or frozen fruit
- Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash
- Green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach
- Chia seeds
- Nuts or nut butter
You might even find that the ritual of choosing ingredients and blending up your smoothie helps get you in the zone so you’re no longer thinking about feeling tired.
Whole Grain Bagel with Nut Butter
If you’d rather fight the afternoon slump with something to chew on, try spreading some of your favorite nut butter onto a whole grain bagel. This is another tasty way to get some of all three macros, especially if you top it off with slices of banana, avocado, or other fruit.
While, again, the act of making a snack can help get you moving and put you in the mindset of productivity, bagels are also easy to prepare in advance if you know you’ll be short on time. That way, your caffeine alternatives for energy will already be there waiting for you even before you start to feel tired — making it easier for you to grab them instead of another coffee.
Another common symptom of the afternoon crash is a craving for sweets or junk food. So when choosing snacks that are caffeine alternatives for energy that lasts, you want snacks that will not only fulfill your energy needs, but also satisfy those cravings in a healthy way.
With 85 whole food ingredients — including chocolate, fruits, veggies, and nuts — ModBalls are clean energy bites packed with flavor, macros, and other important nutrients. And with no preparation required, they’re easy to grab either at home or on the go.
More Energy, Less Caffeine
When it comes down to it, the best caffeine alternatives for energy are as nutritious as they are quick, convenient, and satisfying. Aim for a solid macro content with whole food or at least minimally processed ingredients, and you’ll fuel yourself with sustained — but not sleep-threatening — energy all afternoon.
Shop ModBalls now to explore our nutrient-dense energy bites.