Food is fuel to your productivity. Understanding this should revolutionize the way we eat. How often do you ask yourself “Am I eating what my body needs, or what my tastebuds want?”
When it comes to achieving productivity in your workday, the importance of eating well cannot be overemphasized. Here are 7 suggestions for healthy meals/snacks to improve your health and productivity at the same time.
All-Day Energy for Your Productivity
Giving your body long-lasting, slow-releasing supplies of energy is one key to a productive day. If you choose a breakfast or morning snack that is primarily made of simple carbs, sugar, and caffeine, you are going to run through your energy supply sooner rather than later.
Instead, start your day with these power foods to ensure you have a more stable supply of nutrients to enable you throughout the day. I like what the Pick The Brain article emphasized that your diet can also affect your sleep, so your start and end of your day can be effected for the food you eat.
Eating eggs at the beginning of your day will help you stay full longer into the day. According to a study published in 2006, having a high-protein breakfast allows your body to regulate the “hunger hormone” ghrelin.
Eggs also possess substantial quantities of ribovlavin, a B vitamin essential to producing energy in your body. Make sure you eat the whole egg to access all the nutrients and vitamins found in the yolk.
Here is another high-protein food to get your day started well. People have literally been eating yogurt for hundreds of years. Why stop now?
In addition to being high in protein, yogurt is filled with probiotics, calcium and other vitamins. Make sure you choose yogurt without added sugars. If the taste of yogurt scares you, try adding fruit or granola.
3. Rolled Oats
This whole grain has amazing health benefits on multiple levels. Rolled oats are minimally processed and so retain a naturally low glycemic index value. This allows your body to slowly digest and steadily release energy derived from the oats.
Oats also contain substantial amounts of protein, fiber, and beneficial minerals. Remember to choose regular rolled oats or steel-cut oats without any added sugar.
Finding food that works well with your brain is key to staying productive throughout your day. While almost any type of food will get you through the day, here are some foods to focus on that have great results for your short-term brainpower and long-term health.
4. Nuts & Seeds
Walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are just a few of your options for this category of brain food. With good fats, antioxidants, iron and plenty of protein, nuts are a must for boosting your productivity.
One study found that eating nuts had a positive effect on the cognitive function of older women, while some nuts also contain good sources of brain-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. ( see below)
5. Dark Green Vegetables
I’m talking about the veggies some people avoid like the plague: broccoli, kale, spinach, and collards. These leafy, green vegetables are stocked with key nutrients that your body loves.
Choline, a nutrient found in leafy greens such as kale, has been found to promote brain function.
Brocolli has proved helpful in many healthy body functions including “providing antioxidants and regulating enzymes”. Eating broccoli also provides your body with natural doses of Sulforaphane, a substance that has been said to protect against cancer and other diseases.
This would include Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Mackerel, and any other fish filled with good, fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have many health benefits for our bodies – especially our brains.
One type of Omega 3 fatty acid found naturally in many types of fish is called DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). A study published in 2012 found that “ higher DHA levels are related to improved cognitive performance”.
7. Dark Chocolate & Fruit
Mixing dark chocolate and fruit is a tremendous way to perk you up as well as deliver your body with a host of antioxidants, vitamins and even some natural caffeine.
While blueberries, goji berries, and oranges tend to top the fruit list, there are multiple fruits to choose from that are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. You can also try apples, raspberries, strawberries, and mangos.
Besides providing antioxidants and caffeine, dark chocolate can help your body increase blood flow. This, in turn, can help improve brain function and decrease mental fatigue during work hours. Try pairing 80% dark chocolate with blackberries to maximize the “good stuff” and minimize your sugar intake.
As you begin to reconsider the foods you eat, remember that your workday productivity and your long term health are both up for improvement. Here are a few final thoughts to keep in mind as you restructure your meals.
- Eat frequent smaller meals throughout the day.
- Eat until you are satisfied and no more.
- Say NO to processed foods, simple carbs, hidden sugars, and saturated fats.
- Say YES to whole foods, proteins, fiber, and low-glycemic carbs, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Ben Tejes is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ascend Finance, a platform to help people achieve self improvement in the area of personal finance. He is a writer for the Ascend Blog where he writes on topics such as Chapter 7, Chapter 13, debt, collections and creditors to help people get out of debt and experience financial freedom.
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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.