Do you ever wish you could be more productive? Think back to one of your better workdays. Now ask yourself this: What did you have to eat on that day?
When we think about increasing our productivity and improving our performance in the office, we don’t really consider food as part of the equation. For those of you who are struggling to stay on top of things, food could be the missing link between you and success.
Food is fuel
What we put in our bodies affects us more than we realize. This is obvious, but not many people can fully grasp the concept. We are what we eat—literally. The food you eat will supply your body with fuel and it will also serve as the building blocks of muscle. What you eat becomes you and is incorporated into your body on a cellular level. Why wouldn’t it affect the way you think? Why wouldn’t it affect your energy levels and mood? Again, food is fuel and food literally makes up the bodies we have today. That alone should be reason enough to take our diets more seriously.
Food affects cognitive performance
The food we eat has a direct impact on our cognitive performance. If you find yourself making poor decisions, it’s probably because you didn’t have a proper lunch. Here’s how the process goes:
- The food we eat is broken down in the body into glucose. This supplies energy to the organs including our brains. When we’re low on said glucose, the brain has a harder time staying focused and our attention will tend to drift elsewhere. This is partly the reason why we have a harder time concentrating on something when we’re in a fasted state.
- However, the problem with breaking down foods is not all foods will be broken down at the same rate. Foods like fizzy drinks, cereal, bread and pasta will be broken down into glucose more rapidly, leading to an increase in energy followed by a drop. High fat meals on the other hand like hot dogs, cheese and fatty cuts of beef, will take longer to digest and thus, will provide more sustained, slow-releasing energy. High fat meals tend to be more difficult to digest, which can also affect cognitive performance because it steals oxygen away from the brain.
These declines in performance can ultimately lead to poor decision making, slower reaction times and short attention spans, all of which can lead to less-than-optimal productivity.
Unhealthy meals are usually cheaper
Let’s face it—sometimes a salad can cost twice as much as a doughnut or hamburger at your local fast food shop. But think of the bigger picture: would you rather save 10 minutes on a quick meal, or lose hours of productivity at work and potentially cost
yourself a lot of money?
Takeaway Tips for Balanced Meals:
- Don’t let yourself get too hungry. When we’re hungry, we tend to crave and rarely do we say, “I have a mad craving for a large salad right now.” It’s usually comfort foods that we gravitate to. Graze throughout the day and have small meals to prevent hunger from becoming unmanageable.
- Fruits and vegetables as snacks are proven to make people happier, more creative and more productive according to studies. Pack some fruit in your lunch box, or buy some at a café down the street.