What we eat throughout the day is what gives us the energy to keep going. Proper nutrition not only gives long-term benefits but short-term as well. Our eating habits influence our physical, mental, and emotional health.
This means that a good and quality diet can help us perform better, gives us energy, concentration, and makes us happier.
If you noticed that your productivity at work has been in decline lately, it may be because your diet isn’t satisfying.
If you think that’s the case, check out these diet tips that can help you get more done in your workday.
1. Breakfast is important
Breakfast is the first meal we eat after sleeping and as such it boosts our energy levels and alertness. Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, eating breakfast is what gives us most of the energy we need to fully wake up and keep going during our workday.
Eating breakfast can also help with our concentration, focus, and better memory. On the other hand, if you skip the morning meal, you are throwing your body off the rhythm – your blood sugar levels are low and breakfast is what helps replenish it. Blood sugar levels are what helps your muscles and brain work properly.
So, as you can see, not eating breakfast can not only negatively affect your physical health making you feel tired, but it can also negatively impact your mind.
2. What we eat for breakfast also matters
We established that breakfast is important for many reasons, but we have yet to mention that eating the right foods for breakfast also matters.
A healthy and nutritious breakfast should contain whole grains, vitamins and minerals, lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables. All of these foods when grouped provide our bodies with carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and even fat.
You can find these nutrients in many different foods, so you can easily find options that suit you best. However, you don’t have to eat all of these food groups for one breakfast – two or three groups are enough for a healthy breakfast.
And in case you’re someone who doesn’t have enough time to make breakfast every morning, you can easily make protein shakes as a quick and convenient alternative. The preparation of these shakes usually takes only a couple of minutes and they are portable – so you can drink them on a go.
Protein shakes are made of many different ingredients but usually, people like to add protein powder to boost their protein intake.
3. Try to eat small but frequent meals
While you eat breakfast to boost your energy levels and wake your mind up in the morning, at some point the breakfast will wear off – your body will burn all the energy you gathered by eating breakfast.
To satisfy your appetite, provide your body with nutrients and stabilize your blood sugar throughout the rest of the day, you should eat small but frequent meals. This implies that you should snack often instead of going without eating anything between meals.
These small and frequent meals are what give you energy throughout the day and they don’t let your blood sugar levels dip so low that you need to overeat to get them back to normal.
Snacking can also be beneficial for your metabolism. When you eat less but more frequently, you boost your metabolism.
So, stock up on healthy snacks and munch on them throughout your workday. Don’t let yourself become so hungry that you have to overeat.
4. Lunch habits
If you decide to have breakfast and try small and frequent snacking, by the time lunch comes around, you would have already eaten enough so that you don’t have to overeat for lunch.
This means that you can have a moderate lunch, which is very beneficial especially if you have to eat at work. Regardless of whether or not your lunch is moderate, it should still be healthy.
We know that it can be difficult to eat healthy at the workplace, but not impossible. You can easily prepare and bring yourself delicious lunch from home. There are so many good work lunch recipes that can be made in only 20 minutes.
5. Be aware of caffeine
Drinking coffee has become a huge part of workplace culture. We reach for any sort of drink that contains caffeine whenever we feel like we’re getting tired or our concentration is slipping.
While caffeine is a natural stimulant that activates our central nervous system and helps us feel less tired and more focused and concentrated, it can also be harmful.
Consuming caffeine doesn’t come without some consequences. Some of the most frequent side-effects of ingesting high doses of caffeine include anxiety, sleeping problems, restlessness, and even addiction.
Usually, people who don’t get enough sleep heavily rely on caffeine to make them feel alert and awake during the day. If you begin to feel tired or feel like you don’t have enough energy at some point during the workday, instead of always reaching for coffee, get up, take a stroll in the fresh air.
6. Say no to junk food
We talked about eating snacks, and many people when snacks are mentioned automatically think of junk food. Not all snacks are junk food! Of course, there are sweets, chips, and other foods that are high in trans and saturated fats, but when we say eat snacks we don’t mean those.
Snacks that are high in sugar and fats won’t do much to keep you alert, energized, or focused. Instead, they only make you feel energized for a short period and then comes the crash.
Try eating healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, dark chocolate granola bars, and so on. These foods are high in protein and nutrients and are guaranteed to keep you full throughout the day and in that way keep you away from unhealthy cravings and junk food.
Apart from that, if you are trying to lose weight, these snacks can help a lot!
7. Eat more fruit and vegetables
If snacks are not your thing, bringing fruit and veggies to work can be very beneficial as well. Fruit and vegetables are responsible for giving our brain energy and enhancing our creativity and happiness.
This is probably because the vitamins, antioxidants, and carbohydrates in fruit and vegetables increase the production of dopamine and serotonin in our brains making us feel happier, creative, and more energized.
Apart from that, fruit and vegetables are easily digested by our body and there is no fatigue associated with digestion like with other types of foods. So, if you feel hungry, or if you haven’t eaten for a while, reach for fruit and veggies, they will make you feel sated faster and you won’t feel tired like you do after eating larger meals.
8. Don’t be afraid of whole grains
You may have heard that eating grains can cause obesity, inflammation, and other health problems and that’s probably the main reason you stay away from them.
The truth is that whole grains have a bad reputation thanks to refined grains – which are two separate things. Whole grains are actually very beneficial to our health as they lower the risk of diabetes, high pressure, and heart problems.
Whole grains also support healthy digestion even though they take longer to digest. But right because of that we gain more energy that can help us stay more productive and more energized at work.
You can incorporate whole grains into your diet in many different ways. You can eat brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, oatmeal, and so on.
9. Fiber foods are beneficial
Just like whole grains, foods rich in fiber come with many health benefits. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and promotes weight loss amongst many other things.
Unfortunately, many people don’t consume enough food rich in fiber. However, increasing the intake of fiber is not complicated. All you need to do is incorporate food that is rich in fiber into your diet – fruit such as pears, strawberries, apples, avocado are full of fiber.
Apart from all the health benefits, fibers just like whole grains help our bodies digest food more slowly and steadily making our energy levels steady and due to that, we’re more alert, focused, and productive during our workday.
10. Omega-3 is essential
Omega-3 fatty acids have so many health benefits to our body and mind. People who eat extra omega-3s are less likely to become anxious or depressed. Apart from that, omega-3s are also vital for the normal function of our brains.
So, if you notice that you have a slight decline in your brain function, consider taking omega-3 fatty acids. You can easily increase the amount of omega-3 acids by eating fish oil, some plant oils or nuts, and seeds. Similarly, eating fish and other seafood rich in omega-3s helps immensely.
11. Too much meat is not good
Just like with many things in life, eating too much meat can have negative effects on our health. This by no means implies that you have to entirely cut out meat from your diet, just don’t eat too much of it.
Meat is high in fat and protein which makes it more difficult to digest. While carbohydrates also take time to digest, they boost your energy, while protein doesn’t give you that immediate boost of energy instead it makes you feel sleepy and sluggish.
The energy that should go to your brain is used and redirected to faster digestion of meat. So, when you’re at work try to stay away from meat or at least eat smaller portions of it.
Eating too much meat may also cause dehydration. This is again thanks to the proteins – kidneys need more water to produce urine that will get rid of toxic waste products. That’s why we’re more thirsty after we’ve eaten meat. Keep a bottle of water near you if you had meat for lunch!
12. Drinking enough water
Drinking enough water is essential for our bodies to stay healthy. When we don’t drink enough water our attention, memory, and other brain-related skills are affected.
To make sure you hydrate enough during the day, keep a bottle of water near you and sip it throughout the day. Drinking coffee or tea helps you stay hydrated, but drinking enough water is more important.
So, dial back on your coffee intake and increase your water intake is our recommendation.
13. Avoid drinking alcohol
Many times you feel like you need a glass of alcohol to help you either destress or sleep better. The truth is alcohol doesn’t help you sleep better even though it makes you fall asleep faster.
In fact, alcohol can affect the way our body works by decreasing our energy levels and it can also impair digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Apart from that, we’re more likely to wake up once the alcohol wears off – this is because alcohol disrupts our sleep patterns and brainwaves. And a good night’s sleep is essential if we want to be productive, focused, and energized at work.
So, instead of drinking alcohol to destress or sleep better, try exercising or meditating. If this also doesn’t work out, try seeking the help of a professional.
If you’ve been having problems with productivity at work recently, it may be because your diet isn’t good enough. Try changing some of the eating habits you have to see if your performance at work will improve and if you’re able to do more in a workday.
If you happen to see a change, it means that you should work on improving your diet. Of course, you don’t have to follow all the tips we mentioned above, but you can slowly start implementing some of them.
For example, to start with a change, cut down on your caffeine intake, and drink more water. As your productivity starts increasing try incorporating other tips as well.
Make smarter and healthier food choices and you’ll not only be healthy but more productive at work as well!