Getting through a busy week at work can often mean that healthy eating slips down the priority list. This can make things worse, though — an imbalanced diet of fast food can increase stress, risk of depression, and lethargy.
Meal planning takes time, it’s true, but not thinking ahead can cost you. Poorly planned nutrition can have a negative effect on your productivity and happiness levels in the office. Here are four tips for easily improving what you eat during the workday.
Always Eat Breakfast
Too many of us skip breakfast, but also know it’s essential for kick-starting the metabolism and replenishing blood sugar levels. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or extravagant: keep the fridge stocked with simple yet nutritionally dense foods like smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, and fruit.
If you’re really pressed for time, keep a granola bar or two in your bag for snacking on the way to work. This kind of breakfast is much better than nothing at all, if you want to have a productive morning.
Don’t Eat Lunch at Your Computer
It’s tempting to work through lunch in order to get more done, but taking a break and relaxing while you eat is much better for you — if at all possible. Taking a break midday can boost cognitive abilities, according to a 2013 study conducted by researchers at The University of Edinburgh, especially if you’re able to sit in a park or other green space.
Even if you choose to eat at your desk, try to take at least a 10-minute walk outside before or after so that you are getting at least a little break from the environment. Fresh air and light exercise will help to clear the mind and get you back on track for a productive afternoon.
Remember to Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can rob you of focus. Keep a bottle of water on your desk, and you’ll instantly be making it easier to stay alert and on-task.
How much water do you need? Don’t believe the old “eight glasses a day” myth.
“It depends on your size and weight, and also on your activity level and where you live,” says Trent Nessler, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville, in an interview with WebMD. “In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you’re living in a hot climate and exercising a lot, you’d be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you’d need less.”
Foods with high water content can be fantastic for keeping yourself hydrated throughout the workday, too. Citrus fruits, berries, green salads, and soups are ideal for adding even more water to your daily intake.
Stock Your Desk Drawer
It’s natural to sometimes need a snack in the middle of the day, but not all of us have the luxury of leaving the office to seek sustenance. Foods like nuts, dried fruit, jerky, and dark chocolate are great for keeping close by for moments when you need a healthy energy boost.
Tell Us What you Think
Do you find it challenging to eat healthily during a busy week at work? What are your tips? Share them in the comments below, or join the discussion on Twitter.