5 Drinks to Perk Up Your Afternoon if You’re Avoiding Caffeine

Feeling sleepy? Try these before you hit up the office coffee pot.

Photograph by iStock/gzorgz

We’ve all experienced the afternoon slump, but as much as we love coffee, drinking it at 4 p.m. isn’t exactly great for a good night’s sleep.

If you’re hoping to both perk up and avoid caffeine in the afternoon,  here’s a few recommendations from the pros at OnPoint Nutrition.

Green Smoothie

Not only will downing leafy greens help you get in enough nutrients for the day, they actually help you wake up. “My favorite coffee-free afternoon pick-me-up is a smoothie! I pack them with fruit, greens, protein, and healthy fats for a balanced jolt of energy,” says OnPoint registered dietitian Emily Pierce. “One of my favorite combinations is raw kale, a banana, one tablespoon of peanut butter, one scoop of Plant Fusion protein powder, and water or almond milk. It’s sweet from the natural sugar in the fruit, and the fat and protein keep me full until dinner.”


Not only is this probiotic-packed beverage delicious, it also may help keep you from a desk-side doze. “The bubbles and interesting taste wake me up and leave me feeling satisfied and alert,” says OnPoint’s Ivy Eliff. “Kombucha does contain a bit of caffeine, but it is significantly less than your typical cup of tea. If you opt for green tea kombucha, the caffeine levels can be as low as two to three milligrams.”

Tea With a Kick

Nothing like drinking something that lights up your taste buds to erase any afternoon drowsiness. “I love Good Earth’s caffeine-free Sweet & Spicy herbal tea! The spiciness of this tea really clears the senses and wakes me up without the caffeine,” says OnPoint’s Allyson Gregg. “It isn’t too sweet by any means and happens to be one of my all-time favorite beverages, especially for the cold season.”

Peppermint Tea

One of my personal favorite ways to perk up late in the day without caffeine is peppermint tea. The mint is invigorating, and studies have shown that even just smelling peppermint can help concentration. Plus, downing cup after cup of tea also helps me stay hydrated.


Is this boring? Yes. Is it practical? Oh, yes. Dehydration can leave you feeling sleepy and wreck your concentration, so before you head to the office espresso machine, first try a big ol’ glass of water. Feel better now?

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