For this feature we are talking about productivity in the workplace, but the same applies to productivity in all aspects of our lives; from housework to play time with the children, or simple time out with friends or at the gym.
How productive are your days? Do you find you have some days where you are more productive than others? There are many factors that can contribute to workplace productivity, including how much sleep we have had and natural light in the workplace, but an important factor surprisingly is what we eat throughout the day.
When a car runs out of fuel, it simply stops moving. Food is our fuel needed to keep us going, but many of us don’t understand the different food types, the benefits of their nutrients (or lack of in many instances), and what we should be eating to help us achieve the maximum output.
So how does your day pan out?
- Do you have breakfast? If so, is it high sugar (cereals)? Is it high in processed carbs (white toast / pastries)? Or is it a healthy balanced breakfast (proteins, wholegrains, full fat natural yoghurt, fruit)? Or maybe you have no time for breakfast and skip it altogether!
- Do you get hungry between breakfast and lunch? Do you snack in between?
- What do you eat for lunch?
- Do you get hungry again before you finish work? Do you snack in the afternoon?
- Do you get tired after lunch and struggle to stay motivated and focused?
All of the above will affect how productive or non productive you are and how you day pans out! A key author in this field of study is Ron Freidman. He tells us that the food we eat has a direct impact on our cognitive performance. This is because the food we eat is broken down by our digestive system into glucose. The glucose is what we need for our brains to stay active. When we run low on glucose we struggle to stay focused and our attention span is shortened.
The foods we eat are all broken down at different rates depending on the food type. Some foods release their glucose quickly (high fructose foods such as cereal, bread, pasta, fizzy drinks) which is where the links of the sugar rush and the sugar crash kick in – you get a quick burst of energy followed by a massive slump in energy shortly after. Whilst other foods (fast-food, unhealthy fats) take longer to digest so provide more sustained energy, BUT reduces oxygen levels in the brain which makes us groggy.
Reuters, 2014, shared this photo of the then President Barack Obama, who had a strict food regime understanding how the food we eat affects how we think.
Business Insider confirm that the highly successful people do not rely on impulsive food decisions, they build constructive routines in advance taking away the need to decide at that moment.
So for a day’s working productivity, a healthy, nutritious breakfast leaves us with higher energy levels and brain power for longer, supporting us through a morning without losing focus and feeling hungry; a healthy lunch stops us from getting the mid afternoon slump and keeps us going for the rest of the day, along with balanced snacking options (full fat natural yoghurt, fruit, nuts).
The hardest part is understanding the different food types and what they actually do to our productivity levels. In work, we often run on a day-to-day basis grabbing food and snacks to fit into our day. BUT THIS IS NOT PRODUCTIVE! Taking a break and eating healthy will actually result in more efficient work being done than an unhealthy meal as you work, or skipping meals altogether.
If you want further support to lead a healthier lifestyle I can offer the following for you:
- My membership packages offer meal plans, recipes and even a shopping list, allowing you to become more successful as I take the decision making process away from you! As long as you prepare the meals in advance to take to work, it is all there for you and for only £15 a month!!!
- I can offer a company membership scheme at a discounted rate where the management make sure their staff are as healthy and productive as possible.
- A half-day workshop at your place of work, delivering a full training programme, the understanding of cooking healthy, unprocessed meals, with a full low-sugar lunch provided.
Still deciding? Why not try my FREE 5-Day Weight Loss Programme as a taster into the understanding? This is about natural weight-loss not a diet, so the training provided is what we need to do to lead a natural, more energetic, more productive lifestyle.