Beat the Afternoon Slump: 3 Natural Alternatives to Coffee

So, that above statement is truer than true, am I right? As a proud coffee addict, this was never a post I imagined writing. It's coffee coffee coffee all day every day. Even as I edit this, I'm drinking my morning cup, so why would I be looking for alternatives?


This past week, I found myself extra anxious having my afternoon cup. I found myself easily overwhelmed and worried over things which normally I'm pretty chill about. When I was sick a few weeks ago, I didn't even want coffee (serious gasp) and since then, I've been hyper aware of how it's affecting my system. Thus, today's post. Lately I am all about alleviating anxiety a kind and natural way, especially since I wrote last week about 5 ways you might have anxiety and not know it. But, and this is a huge but, I have trouble avoiding my love in the afternoon.

I recognize my mental health - and thus my overall health - is far more important than my traditional cup, but there's something so lovely about my afternoon tradition. In high school, I always shared a cup of coffee with my mom, chatting about my day, and taking a moment away from work to energize and refocus. Serious nostalgia for those laughs and memories, and every day I have a cup of coffee around three, I'm reminded to take a deep breath and settle into my afternoon workflow. Coffee is definitely part of my identity -- you'll never see me without a coffee mug (ceramic or travel, I don't discriminate); I'm always scheduling meetings and dates at coffee shops; and my new favorite shirt says, "all I need is coffee & mascara". Coffee is life. My life.

But while researching all kinds of greatness for a guide coming to The Shop next month, I stumbled across several alternatives to coffee. Curious, I tried them, knowing I could always follow them up with the ol' standby worst case scenario. Surprisingly, I was elated to find they were just as energizing, equally delicious, and still provided many great health benefits.

Without further ado, here are tried-and-true alternatives to coffee that provide lasting energy and beat the afternoon slump. Think: no spikes or jitteriness!

1. Apples

If you know me personally, up about as high on the totem pole as coffee is my love for apples. An apple a day keeps me happy, and lately I'll even admit to having two! Apples are composed of natural sugars, which the body quickly digests and turns into energy. Because apples are high in fiber, they’re absorbed by the body more slowly, which results in a continual stream of energy (a.k.a. no spikes or crashes -- heck yeah). I was intrigued by my favorite food when I read apples can give you a better energy boost than coffee.

2. Peppermint Tea with Honey

This is definitely my new favorite. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed - emoji with heart eyes - over this drink. Peppermint is naturally stimulating. It supports healthy digestion and has a sweet, strong taste all on it's own. Adding honey, though, really kicks it up a notch. Low on the glycemic index, honey is nature’s version of a quick energy shot, giving you a steady stream of energy to tackle all you have on your plate. Honey also has a whole host of other amazing properties, but we'll save that for another day. This mix is especially good before or after a workout. I've been drinking it mid-morning through work and in the late afternoon to tame my sugar habit and beat the slump and it's doing wonders.

3. Chia Seeds

So chia seeds have/had/will always have a moment in my life. They are probably the best addition to my plant-based diet ever. They are full of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and protein, meaning they tick off some serious nutrient necessities and keep you satiated. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for 90-minute workouts the same way as an energy drink would, but without all the extra sugar. The recipe below takes the natural, energizing benefits of fruit sugars combined with these nutritional powerhouses to create a delicious, tastes-like-desert, afternoon snack seriously capable of kicking the afternoon slump.

Chia Seed Pudding:
+ 1/4 cup chia seeds
+ 2 cups almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice/ water also works)
+ 1 banana
+ Optional: 1tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and tumeric

If you have a blender, grind the chia seeds, add the banana and liquid, and blend it all together. If you're running low on time or don't have a blender/grinder, mash the banana with a fork, add the milk, and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit 45 minutes or longer in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Note: The chia seeds absorb 10x their weight in water, making a deliciously creamy pudding. By letting them sit for a length of time, the flavors combine and the recipe thickens, but if you are short on time, don't stress. It's still really good. Once the mixture reaches desired consistency, let your afternoon slump be gone!

There are some pretty great finds if I do say so myself. While I am definitely making these swaps, I'll be honest, sometimes I just want the quiet nostalgia of drinking coffee in the afternoon. Anxiety is real and sometimes kind thoughts and memories handle it better than diet, but these three alternatives are amazing. When I have them, I don't feel jittery or shaky. I haven't felt out of my skin or unable to process what is happening around me or to me. Instead, I feel stable, able to handle what's being thrown my way. I'd say nutrition for the win!

What is your favorite afternoon pick me up? Let's chat in the comments below?

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