Cutting Corners Doesn’t Help Productivity
Like many others, I used to think that I would increase my productivity at work by either skipping meals or eating food purchased from the hallway vending machine. I never took the time to prepare a healthy breakfast or lunch.
My work-day diet used to be “whatever is quick and easy” so I could get on with my work. I typically ate a crème-filled donut for breakfast, drank bottomless cups of coffee throughout the day for energy, and visited the vending machine for lunch. Peanut butter crackers and an orange juice was my “go-to” lunch.
Eating processed food might taste good at first, but the empty calories and high carbs (sugar) leave us feeling weak and irritable within an hour. Caffeine gives us a boost, but it also leaves us either shaky or craving another cup. High fat foods such as cheeseburgers require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy.
Eat Breakfast for Sustained Energy
A breakfast that includes both protein and fruit sustains us longer and keeps us more productive than a donut or a bowl of cereal.
Try these suggestions for a quick and healthy breakfast:
- Yogurt- I like the higher protein Greek yogurt- mixed with fresh berries and low-fat granola with some nuts added
- Steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats mixed with dried berries and nuts Oatmeal can easily be prepared overnight for a quick breakfast in the morning.
- 100% stone-ground, whole-wheat toast topped with no-sugar, natural peanut butter and sliced banana
- A protein rich meal-replacement
Pack a LunchA high-fat, fast food meal offers empty calories and can cause your blood sugar to skyrocket and crash. You’re more likely to experience an afternoon slump on days you get fast food versus days you pack your own nutritious lunch.
· Planning ahead is a must. Pick 2-3 easy prep meals, such as a turkey wrap, or fresh cut vegetables, whole grain crackers and hummus.
· Make at least 2 salads on Sunday evening. Check out Salads in a Jar for ideas.
· Get the right balance. Your lunch should include
o A protein source such as meat, eggs, cheese or beans
o A whole grain
Keep Healthy Snacks Available at Your Desk
Eating healthy snacks is not only better for your waistline, it’s just as important for nourishing the brain. Foods rich in folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C and vitamin E are particularly good for brain health and overall productivity. These nutrients decrease inflammation, improve memory, and increases dopamine. Current research shows that the more fruits and vegetables eaten throughout the day increases feelings of well-being, curiosity, and creativity in young adults. Having healthy snacks easily available also prevents spikes and drops in blood sugar.
Some easy snacks to bring to the office:
- A high protein nutrition bar
- A small handful of mixed nuts or almonds
- Celery, an apple, or a banana topped with natural peanut butter
- Fresh cut vegetables with hummus
- A hard-boiled egg
Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to how you feel after each meal or snack. Have you increased your energy level and are you thinking more clearly? Or do you have “brain fog” and really want to take a nap? Think about it- do you get more work done when hungry and groggy, or when your mind is clear and you have plenty of energy? You will learn through experience the best foods to increase your own productivity, and through example encourage your co-workers to do the same.
For more healthy tips, check out the following articles
Robin is the founder of Living Well Connections, a community of supportive people who are passionate about improving their health and the health of their families.
Her background in medical research on inflammation and 13 years with USANA Health Sciences has given her a unique insight on helping individuals find the best solutions to support their own health needs.
You can learn more about Living Well Connections at http://livingwellconnections.info