Eat Well To Perform Well

09/09/15

Food is often the last factor that comes to mind when you think about what drives performance in the workplace.

In actual fact, the food we put in our bodies is one of the main determinants of workplace performance and productivity.

When your day is composed of managing your inbox, attending meetings, ensuring you are meeting deadlines, and producing quality work, then it is important to fuel your body in the correct way to ensure you can adequately respond to these competing work demands.

Since food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, it is important to make smart decisions for breakfast and lunch. 

Running low on energy means we will have a tough time staying focused and attention spans come to a halt.

A typical healthy Australian breakfast consists of good fats, carbohydrates, and protein. An example of a healthy breakfast may include a bowl of oats with some fruit, a couple of slices of toast with avocado, scrambled eggs with mushrooms, or a fruit/vegetable smoothie. Incorporating a good mix of fats and protein will ensure you have enough energy to drive you to lunch time. An example of an unhealthy breakfast may include fast food items, a bowl of curry, a pastry slice, or just a cup of coffee.

An example of a healthy lunch can include a fresh salad sandwich with brown bread, a fresh salad with a piece of protein such as chicken, a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. Examples of an unhealthy lunch includes fast food, pizza, anything deep fried, or a bar of chocolate.
When making decisions about what to put in your body as fuel, keep in mind the level of energy you will expend during the day. 

Most office roles will require you to be sitting in front of your computer for most of the day and not engage in too much physical activity. You need to consider your consumption levels in relation to your expenditure levels and physical activity.

Every food that is consumed gets processed in our bodies differently. Adopting a diet that is high in sugar and trans fatty acids will lead to a spike in energy and then a sudden slump. The ‘bouncing off the walls’ effect will come into play for a couple of hours followed by a compelling need to crawl under your desk and go to sleep for a couple of hours.

To compensate for this slump in energy, your brain will then crave more sugar to maintain those initial energy levels. From here, it is a struggle to regain concentration and you will feel like you have quite literally ‘hit a wall’. Adopting a healthy diet will have the opposite effect. A well rounded meal will leave you feeling like you have enough energy to go the extra mile at work.

Some ways to avoid eating badly include planning your meals the night before. This will ensure you do not default to the easy ‘take away’ option at the local café. Buy yourself some good Tupperware and load it up with some healthy greens and tasty grains. Make sure you are eating at regular intervals and snacking on nuts and seeds to help you feel ‘fuller’ and make sure you are drinking at least 2 litres of water a day.

With a healthy eating plan, nourishing and clean food in your belly, there is no reason why you should not be performing optimally and impressing all your colleagues with the quality of your work.  

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