Eating right to remain productive
Feeling fatigue setting in and your concentration levels dipping since the beginning of the afternoon? Did you know that what you decide to eat can impact your productivity? Here are a few tips to help you eat right and be productive for the entire day.
A productive afternoon starts with a nutritious and balanced meal. To find that balance, the new Canada’s Food Guide recommends preparing your meals in the following manner:
- Half in fruits and vegetables
These foods contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body, but also fibres that help you stay satiated. This way, hunger will take longer to set in between meals. Bonus tip! Add more colour to your dish. Doing so will provide even more plant-based benefits for your health.
- One quarter in whole grain products
Whole grain products such as oatmeal, pot barley, quinoa or brown and wild rice contain carbohydrates, the preferred fuel of the body and the brain. With a proper serving, carbs boost your energy, but when you consume too much of it, you’re more likely to feel tired in the hours following your meal. Opt for whole grains instead, as they are the richest source of fibres, vitamins and mineral.
- One quarter in protein (meat, legumes, eggs, milk and milk and substitutes)
Opt for lean meats, fish, poultry, cheese or the many tasty plant-based alternatives: legumes, fortified soy beverages, tofu, etc. Protein also provides energy in addition to making you feel satiated, i.e. feeling full for a longer period. Therefore, the combination of carbs and protein provides long-lasting energy.
Dehydration causes a decrease in energy levels or memory and concentration problems. The best thing to drink: water! Your body needs water to function efficiently. Add berries, herbs or natural aromatics to enhance the flavour.
Sparkling water, tea and herbal teas are also excellent options for maintaining optimal hydration. Avoid sugary or energy drinks, which contain staggering amounts of sugar. When it comes to coffee, don’t overdo it, and make sure it essentially remains a coffee. Don’t add too much sugar, aromatic syrups, whipped cream, etc, which turn your coffee into a dessert.
Plan your snacks
Snacks can play an important role in your day. They allow you to remain efficient, control your appetite and keep your metabolism active. So there’s nothing wrong with eating snacks as long as you make wise choices. Opt for foods that are filling. Sure, a cookie or another sugary treat will provide temporary satisfaction, but you will be hungry again in no time.
Ideally, you should combine a source of fibre (fruit, legume, whole grains) with protein. Since it’s a snack, eat a reasonable portion because your goal is to satisfy your hunger without completely curbing your appetite for the next meal.
Here are a few winning combinations to keep in mind:
- Fresh fruit + cheese
- Raw vegetables + humus or tofu dip
- Canned tuna (individual portion) + whole grain crackers
- Roasted and flavoured chickpeas
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.) or seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) + dried fruit
- Homemade energy bites and granola bars (commercial variety usually contains too much sugar)
- Sliced apple with peanut butter
In short, the secret to eating well and remaining productive all day lies mainly with planning your menu. If you opt for balanced meals and nutritious snacks most of the time, you will maximize your energy without giving in to the products in the vending machine too often. You have everything to gain!
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