Everyone knows it whether they admit it or not: staying energetic at work can be a real challenge! Only a few hours into your day and your eyes are drooping, you can’t stay focused, and you’re already daydreaming about weekend plans. Sure, a good night’s sleep and staying active play important roles in how you feel throughout the day, but what you eat has a direct impact on your performance, too. Want your mind (and your body) to perform optimally? Then you’ll want to check out our 5 tips below!
Why Food Matters
When we think about the factors that contribute to work performance, we don’t give nearly enough credit to food. For those of us battling to stay on top of emails, meetings, and deadlines, food is simply treated as fuel. There’s your mistake. While you can reliably expect the same performance from your car no matter what brand of unleaded fuel you put in your tank, food is different.
Just about everything we consume is converted into glucose which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert and focused. When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time being creative or analytical and our attention drifts. But, not all foods are processed by our bodies at the same rate.
Some foods (think bread, candy, and soda) release their glucose quickly. This gives us that burst of energy followed by the dreaded crash. Other high-fat meals (think burgers and fast-food) provide more sustained energy but require additional energy to digest. This reduces oxygen levels in the brain which makes us groggy.
Eating for Productivity
When you spend all day at work, it pays to make those hours healthy ones! Some of the most effective ways to boost your productivity at work are actually through simple day-to-day changes like the ones below:
1. Fuel Right
Research has shown time and time again that eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day isn’t simply good for the body—it’s also beneficial for the mind. Choosing to snack on a banana between meals can actually help us sustain brainpower longer than if we were to snack on something high in sugar. As tempting as that community candy bowl is, a handful of M&Ms means a blood sugar spike followed by a crash. The result? Low energy and low productivity.
But, sugar isn’t the only culprit. Fast-food and high-fat lunches can also take away from your productivity, so be sure you’re opting for light and balanced lunches rather than something heavy. Instead of choosing between sugary sweets or the fast food joint down the road, pack a lunch + stock your desk with healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, or a protein shake!
2. Careful with Coffee
When that 3 p.m. slump comes around, a handful of espresso beans or a second (third?) cup of coffee starts sounding better and better. While it sounds like a caffeine jolt is the answer, consuming too much caffeine at once guarantees a productivity-killing crash after the jolt passes. To stay productive all day, it’s better to consume small amounts of caffeine. Try switching to tea, MochaTonix, or the balanced blend of Isotonix Essentials™ Turn Up!
3. Be Mindful of Hunger
When you’re facing a long list of meetings and deadlines, it’s easy to push your body’s hunger signals to the back burner, if you even notice them at all! When you finally do take notice, you’re starving enough to eat whatever’s handy and filling, regardless of nutrition. If you’ve ever tried to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you know how easy it is to make poor eating decisions while you’re hungry. Plus, the colorful array of sugary breakroom snacks aren’t making it much easier!
4. Take Your Lunch Break
It’s become more common in recent years for workers to spend their lunch break eating at their desk to try and get ahead or even just feel like they’re keeping up! It may sound counter-intuitive, but this can make the day feel monotonous and actually drain your productivity. Consciously disconnecting from work for a mid-day break helps you recharge! If possible, eat somewhere other than your desk — maybe even outside where you can recharge with sunlight and fresh air!
5. Stay Hydrated
Not only does drinking enough water help your body to stay healthy, making sure your body stays hydrated supports the transport of energy-providing nutrients throughout your body! Even minor dehydration can lead to headaches, brain fog, and lethargy which isn’t good for your productivity or your overall health. While “8 glasses of water per day” is the rule of thumb, that may be too much or too little for some. It’s best to let thirst be your guide!
What helpful tips do you have for staying productive at work?
Tell us in the comments below!