A lot has happened since the last time I’ve written. I finished my thesis. I defended my thesis. I attended an International Educators conference in Denver- and I’ve started to de-clutter my life to prepare for my move to Austin, TX. Alas, this post is not about me. Today I’m honored to have one of my close friends Charmaine from Ready Steady Done as a guest blogger. She’s an inspiration: constantly challenging and encouraging me in all aspects of life. Today, she writes about eating for productivity.
Eat Right to Work More Effectively
A couple of weeks ago, I started a new job, and took a 26-hour journey to America, where I’ve been eating out with coworkers, living out of a hotel, and working in an office with unlimited access to candy.
It was quite the change from the 4-Hour Body eating I try to do at home, and I’m just crawling out of the candy and bagel fueled fog now.
Food plays in keeping us alert and feeling great. We eat for sustenance, we bond over meals, we all have comfort foods that we turn to when we’re anxious or stressed. Little wonder that something that takes up so much our lives makes a huge difference in the way we perform at school and at work.
Luckily, after we turn healthy eating into a habit, it eventually becomes effortless. All we need is a little common sense – and a few lifestyle adjustments to ensure that the choice to eat well comes naturally.
5 Healthy Foods That Help Maximize Your Productivity
- Good Carbs
While your body does need carbs for energy, pick sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and steel-cut oats over plain bagels, chips, and overly-sweetened cereals. This will keep your energy levels much more even during the day – and keep you from going crazy on those meeting room doughnuts come the mid-afternoon slump.
2. Smart Nuts
If you’re not allergic, peanuts are surprisingly one of the best nuts (okay, legumes) for brain health. They’re high in folate – important for brain development in unborn babies, and also important for brain maintenance in adults – as well as healthy fats that feed your brain and keep your blood pressure steady. There’s no need to go nuts (no pun intended), though – 28 unshelled peanuts a day will be plenty.
3. Brain Saving Berries
Preferably eaten together with healthy fats like avocado or oil-rich nuts, blueberries contain antioxidants and polyphenols that keep your brain healthy over time.
4. Five-A-Day (Or More)
Aside from the obvious health benefits of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, it’s much harder to give up unhealthy foods than to replace them. There’s no point munching through a dry green salad, though. Reach for carrot and roast garlic hummus, sticks, apples with peanut butter, or even kale chips (or crunchy grilled seaweed) when you get the munchies, and you’ll be far less likely to feel deprived.
5. Green Tea
While too much coffee can give you the jitters and make you more antsy than alert, green tea has enough caffeine to keep you alert, and four cups a day can protect you from degenerative brain disorders.
Bonus: 3 Eating Habits to Help You Stay Sharp
- Cut The White Stuff
Odds are, you’ve sat through a sugar crash at work before, and you know that it’s a quick way to lose your mental edge and set yourself up for failure.
Stress can sometimes give us a sweet tooth – it’s natural, after all, even as babies we gravitate towards food that is sweeter. We’re wired to understand that sweetness means comfort, nutrition, and safety.
Sweet cravings can be sign that your body is lacking for tryptophan or another important nutrient – try having some cheese and raisins, or a baked sweet potato with spinach on the size. If you’ve skipped lunch, go for a balanced meal and see if it helps you to power through your sweet tooth.
- Peer Pressure
Often, people make excuses to pig out with their friends.
Start taking control of where your friends go to eat out, and steer everyone towards healthier choices, or if you’ve fallen into an unhealthy dining rut, try an active outing that has nothing at all to do with food – think hiking, board games, or flag football.
Making healthy habits a part of your lifestyle makes healthy eating more sustainable, and socializing with positive, healthy people carries the added benefit of better emotional health.
- Banish Unproductive, All-Or-Nothing Thinking
If you went nuts on the free chocolate croissants work this morning, this doesn’t mean you should give up and get yourself a vanilla latte and Skittles for lunch. You’re stressed enough without having to beat yourself up for every choice you make.
Above all, do the best you can to take care of yourself. Take healthy eating five minutes at a time, be mindful of the choices you make as well as why you make those choices.
Most importantly, enjoy feeling sharper and more alert when you do have a good day (or days!).
Charmaine is obsessed with productivity, digital technology, and how innovation can transform lives around the world. At home, she enjoys reading, perfecting her ability to cook a perfectly seared steak, and blogging regularly at Ready Steady Done.