If you spend your morning dreaming of lunch or you hit an afternoon slump at work, it’s generally because you aren’t eating right: it might be what you eat or when you eat. Your brain and body needs fuel to be at its best and for you to function well at your job, so your food choices can have a big impact on your productivity. Here’s how to eat for productive days:
When thinking about what to eat to be more productive, breakfast should always be your first port of call. Ideally, the first food you eat for the day should be fruit. You need the complex carbohydrates that contain long chains of sugar molecules that will then be slowly broken down during the day for gradual energy release. Something like a grapefruit or a bowl of berries is perfect. (Many will say protein is the best choice but bear with as this is a full day plan and you’ll see why to leave out the protein).
If you want something in between breakfast and lunch that is going to satisfy you without being unhealthy, then your best bet is to go for something like eggs, cereal, or a sandwich. The reason for these choices is that you are going to want a quick dose of protein that will get your muscles firing before you do a full recharge at lunchtime. Egg yolks contain something called choline, which is great boosting brainpower.
You should be aiming to make lunch the biggest meal of your day. The second half of the work day is the time when you need an energy boost the most, so why not try mixing up a few cooked and raw vegetables with some brown rice to give you all the nutrients and energy that you need to still be productive after 1pm. Ideally your big meal should be at lunch, because you don't need as much energy during the evening when you are at home.
The time between lunch and dinner can feel like a really long stretch, especially when you are at work. If you need a mid afternoon pick me up, then there is no better snacking food for energy than nuts. A handful of nuts, walnuts in particular, contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that neutralize your blood sugar and help you to feel more consistently energized.
When it comes to dinner, your evening meal should be kept nice and light to give your body the time to digest the day's worth of food. You don't want anything too energizing because you will be sleeping soon, so a dinner comprised of fish is perfect. Fish is full of omega fatty acids so it keeps you at a solid energy without giving you an unnecessary nighttime boost.
It is vital to stay hydrated throughout the day, as being hydrated can significantly reduce stress levels. It goes without saying that the less stressed you are, the more productive you tend to be. Of course, water is the perfect hydration source, but if you want something different then non-caffeinated tea is always a good option along with grapefruit juice.
Honestly, if you feel like you need a snack during your usual sleeping hours, then it could be an indicator of your diet not providing you with everything you need during the day. Having midnight snacks is not going to allow your digestive system to work at its best overnight, so I recommend that you fight the urge at all costs.
This plan isn’t a one-size-fits-all. You may find you need protein to get you fired up first thing – in which case, swap your breakfast and brunch around. The point is to space your food intake sensibly during the day, avoiding heavy meals - and of course, make sure you eat a balanced menu, covering all food groups.
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