If you read my first article of the food series, you already know that eating well can have a huge impact on our effectiveness at work. Not only does a healthy and balanced diet keep you fit, it also helps you be more productive and more energetic throughout the day.
If you love snacking, then you’ll probably be very pleased to read that it can help you get things done more effectively. Certain foods are considered brain foods, which enhance your memory and keep you focused. Here are 10 of the best snacks and drinks that will make you more productive at work.
Are you nuts for nuts?
There’s a reason that walnuts look like tiny little brains! They contain a whole lot of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that help nutrients pass through the cell membrane to feed your brain. They can also help you sleep better. Another great nut to snack on is the humble almond, which is rich in riboflavin that boosts memory.
Most nuts contain healthy fats that act like fuel for your brain, so go get a few bags and eat a handful every day!
It’s PB & J time
Did you know that a peanut is actually not a nut? Mind blowing, right? ;-) They’re legumes, just like beans and peas, and they grow in the ground, hence they’re also known as groundnuts. Nevertheless, peanuts are similar to other nuts in terms of their health benefits. They are high in monounsaturated fats that promote healthy heart and brain function and are a good source of plant-based protein. Eat them whole on their own, ground up into peanut butter on some wholegrain toast or just as spoonfuls directly from a jar. ;-)
Bananas have a bad reputation for being high in sugars. While this is true, if you eat them in moderation, you’ll be just fine. Bananas are full of natural sugars, the kind we need to have energy. One banana has enough glucose for the whole day, and it is also very filling thanks to all the fiber it packs.
So go bananas for bananas, as they’re a convenient and portable snack. And they taste great with peanut butter, too. ;-)
These tiny little berries are one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants, which improve our general health, so they naturally make us more productive. Besides being great for keeping fit and losing weight, blueberries contain potassium, magnesium and calcium that help reduce blood pressure. They also enhance memory, so it’s good to snack on them while studying for an exam or a presentation.
We’ve also got something for those with a sweet tooth. We all know that chocolate makes people happy because it tastes so good! But there’s a scientific reason for this - endorphins get released into the brain after having a bite or two. Dark chocolate is good for stressful situations as well because of the magnesium found in it. Also, a few squares can enhance concentration, as it contains a bit of caffeine.
Make sure to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate: it will satisfy your craving for something sweet without adding too much sugar.
Let’s move on to savoury snacks. We all love sandwiches, don’t we? It’s a great portable snack or can even be a healthy lunch. Thanks to complex carbs, wholegrain bread has more fiber, so it will keep you satiated for longer. It won’t cause a blood sugar spike, so it will keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
Wholegrain bread is also high in folate, a vitamin B that boosts blood flow to the brain, making you more concentrated and effective.
Who doesn’t love eggs for breakfast? They are a versatile food: we can eat them boiled, poached, scrambled or as omelettes. Not only are eggs delicious, but they are also full of protein, which powers the brain. They’re a good source of choline, a vitamin B that boosts memory and stimulates brain function.
On average, our bodies are made up of 50-75% water. It is the main component of the human body, and it serves many purposes. Every function in our body depends highly on water in order to work smoothly. Water carries oxygen and nutrients to cells, and it is needed to metabolize food and to dissolve vitamins and minerals.
Drinking at least two litres of water per day will keep you hydrated and will help you stay focused and motivated at work. Check out my previous article where I explained which drinks keep you hydrated and which don’t.
It’s an obvious choice, as coffee contains caffeine, which has stimulating properties. Caffeine can also affect your levels of dopamine, which is well-known for boosting our mood.
However, there are a few simple rules about how and when to drink coffee in order to maximize its focus boosting properties. If you want to learn all about it, take a look at this article.
Green tea is a good alternative to coffee, as it also contains caffeine, which makes it a natural energy enhancer. It is a great drink to have on days when you have a lot of meetings to attend or are working under tight deadlines. Green tea balances mood and it helps us relax, focus and fight fatigue on stressful days at work.
What do you snack on?
Do you snack at all at work? If yes, what are your favorite snacks? Let us know in the comments if you have any of these foods regularly!