You need to eat like your job depends on your diet. Work naturally demands a lot of our time, energy, and talent, so it easy to lose yourself in the task at hand and forget about caring for your body. Some common dietary mistakes of hard-working professionals:
- Consuming too many calories at work social functions
- Drinking highly caffeinated or sugary drinks during afternoon energy lows
- Skipping breakfast or lunch on busy days
- Making convenience food like take-out your regular dinner fare
- Eating processed snacks as a stand-in for meals
These habits will leave you rundown, less able to think on your feet, and more prone to illness, all of which hurts work performance. If you know you are guilty of these dietary mistakes, you may need to return to the cornerstone of eating well: three healthy meals a day.
Making the Most of Meals
Fuel both body and mind first thing with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast doesn’t have to take a lot of time to prepare– a quality protein bar with fruit, a yogurt and berry smoothie, or a bowl of great granola can help put you at the top of your performance at the start of each day. The dragging feeling many of us encounter between 2pm and 4pm is likely due to what we ate (or didn’t eat) for lunch. Whether you work in a small midwestern city, downtown Manhattan, or the beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area, a healthy lunch is always an option when you pack your own. Stay energized throughout the afternoon by bringing a lunch high in protein, fiber, and nutrients.
While it can be difficult to prepare dinner after a long day, find a way to eat well. If you think dinner doesn’t effect your work performance, consider how a high-fat meal can hinder your sleep. Eating a nutritious dinner that is easy to digest allows you to sleep better, and by giving your mind and body a proper rest you have a head start on the next day.
More Water, Less Coffee
Everyone who is a part of a work culture, whether they are at a staffing agency for creatives or the boss’s trailer at a construction site, knows the importance of coffee. It can be hard to give up altogether, so try to limit your caffeine intake during the day. Eating healthy meals should reduce your need for caffeine by steadily raising energy levels. When you are tempted to have a second or third cup of coffee, drink water instead. Many times the body signals “I’m tired” when it really means “I’m thirsty.” Carry a refillable water bottle and hydrate more often during the day and you should see your productivity increase.
We are all familiar with the importance of a work-life balance. Similarly, there is a work-body balance that deserves attention if we want to make the most out of our efforts in the workplace. Improve your ability to think, create, and do by making the most of the food you eat.