Eat smart to work smart!
We all know those lethargic, stressed & busy days when 5pm rolls around and we feel like we have almost nothing to show for the days efforts. In contrast – how good are the days when we feel inspired, productive and energetic?!
Just a couple of simple small changes throughout the day can significantly boost productivity and fight off fatigue and stress. Considering the amount of hours in the day spent at work, it really pays to make that time healthy for both body and mind.
First things first. You already know that to run effectively we need to fuel ourselves effectively.
Fast foods and easy takeout lunches are most likely sugar to be laden, super salty and severely lacking quality fats and protein. They will leave you sluggish, bloated and eventually overweight.
On the other hand, eating veggies, fruits, quality proteins and healthy fats will give you long lasting steady energy all day long whilst nourishing your body with all the nutrition it needs to bring that spring back into your step.
Just as our muscles require certain nutrients, so does your brain.
Healthy Fats are one of our brains fave foods – specifically EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) in the form of Omega-3 fats. We get these nutrients from oily fish (mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines) or plant sources such as linseed (flaxseed), pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Vitamin C can help to give a quick mental agility boost. Reach for some blackcurrants, chilies and red peppers, citrus or broccoli for a quick dose.
More than just a source of Vitamin C, broccoli is a powerhouse for a productive work day. Its packed with cognitive function boosting vitamin K and glucosinolates – a compound that slows the breakdown of neurotransmitters that are essential to keep our brain and memory sharp.
Avocados are another fab food for a fierce day’s work. Avocado is filled with Vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and healthy fats, low in sugar and high in protein – aka the its perfect brain boosting food. Plus, its deeeeeeelish!
Blueberries prove that great things do come in small packages. They have so many great health benefit and taste like an all-natural candy! Perfect for 3pm-itis. Their high levels of gallic acid make them especially good at protecting your brains from stress.
Last but not least, make sure that you’re eating enough protein. This macro-nutrient is not only super satiating, but it digests slowly, keeping you fuller for longer and therefore making weight management just that little bit easier.
Never ignore your hunger! So many of us ignore our rumbling bellies on days we are “just too busy”. Then the afternoon rolls around and all of a sudden we are eating the entire cupboard, work fridge, or lolly jar. When we ignore hunger cues for long enough it gets harder and harder to figure out when you are actually hungry, or when you’re just bored or stressed.
Always take your lunch break! Making that conscious disconnect from work will give you an energy boost to get through the afternoon smoothly. If you can, take your lunch outside and soak up some vitamin D & fresh air.
If you must eat at your desk, try not to check emails or potter along at whatever you were working on. Here’s why:
Just as how much you eat & what you eat affects how satisfied you are, so does the sensory aspects of eating — taste, aroma, texture, color and temperature. Quickly inhaling lunch without even noticing it deprives your body of those senses, therefore leaving you feeling like you need a quick nibble soon after.
You spend a huge chunk of your day at your work space, likely making it the second most important food environment (after your home). Workplaces are tricky as you never know what temptations you may be faced with. Darn you Sally with those cookies again!
Being prepared and packing your own nutritious (and appealing!!) lunches and snacks will help you say n-o to the cookies from Sally, burgers from across the road, or vending machine snackables. For those who order their lunch, ordering before you’re hungry will limit those impulse buys.
Anyone who knows me will already be hearing me recipe my favourite saying – “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”
Water water & more water! Even just minor dehydration causes headaches and can make you feel tired and unable to focus. Also, sometimes that we think is hunger is actually thirst! There are no hard-and-fast rules for how much to drink, just listen to your body to know how much. If you naturally ignore your little thirst voice – aim for at least 8 cups of water daily.
One way to tell: If your urine is clear/very light, you’re doing just fine. If its yellow, time for another glass!
Our bodies are designed for frequent movement. Sitting still at a desk all day is horrible for energy, digestion and weight managment. Make an effort to get up and move that bod at least once an hour. Fill up your glass of water, go and bother a co-worker, do some stretches or even take a mini walk around.
We may think we’re killing it juggling 5 things at once, but studies show that this is not true. Multitasking wastes much more time than it “saves”. It also significantly reduces our brain function! Allowing yourself to focus on one task at a time without distractions will help you to get it done both faster and better.