Fueling your Work Performance through your Diet

plate with fruit and nuts

by Laura Willard, founder of NutriTalks

Having ambition and a brilliant work ethic will take you far, however, it can cost us our health. There are several ways that we can increase productivity and performance through what we consume. Whether it is work trips or the stress of balancing it all, food can be the last thing you want to concentrate on. Making simple changes will help though. Eating a balanced diet can benefit concentration levels, build up your immune system and offer a more balanced flow of energy. Here are my top ten tips to achieve this:

1 Eat a healthy breakfast
Eating healthy wholegrains, for example porridge, will give you a slow release of energy throughout the day. Consuming fruit will boost the immune system and nuts for added protein – all great for those high energy days.

2. Look after your gut!
If you feel bloated and suffer with gastrointestinal issues your body will not be able to absorb nutrients in the same way as a healthy gut. This can add to stress, cause illness or nutrient deficiency and hamper your performance. Visit a dietitian if you are having any of these issues, they will ensure you end up with a healthy gut.

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3. Cut down on alcohol
Probably my least popular tip but alcohol can contribute to loss of performance and concentration. If you are having a pint or two keep it to just that. Binging is especially bad for your kidneys and liver. A high consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of serious illness too!

4. Plan, prep and shop
Whatever times and days you work; we all have half an hour a week to plan our weekly meals. Ensure you have meals prepped for the days you know are extremely busy so you have an easy and healthy meal to come home to. This will not only stop you reaching for a take out on the way home which, let’s face it, on a regular basis can lead to gaining unwanted weight. Over time this can have a detrimental effect on your heart and lead to low moods due to poor nutritional content.

5. Keep healthy snacks nearby
Keep healthy snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, fruit and seeds in your desk drawer. This will mean you don’t get those quick peaks of energy followed by exhaustion. The afternoon slump is terrible for productivity. Snacking on healthy foods will keep you away from the sweets or biscuit tin every office has and ensure you can power through the afternoon.

6. Drink the water
If you are not in an office with a water cooler, fill up a water bottle and leave it on your desk. You can download apps to remind you to drink water regularly too. Dehydration stops the brain functioning at its’ usual level, it helps you to concentrate, reduces risk of headaches and makes you feel fuller. Once you start drinking water regularly it will become a healthy habit throughout your life.

7. Eat lunch away from your desk
You have a deadline and no time to eat. You have a sandwich with you so there is no need to leave your desk. Taking a break and refueling at lunchtime will leave you feeling refreshed and increase your motivation to work through a project.

8. Plan when on the road
Travelling for work is one of the most used excuses for not eating well. This is actually a time you really do need to look after your diet. Having a strong immune system will benefit you. Consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, watch your portion sizes and stay away from deep fried foods.

9. Late night snacking

Coming home after a long day and finally getting a couple of hours on the couch with some junk food is some peoples ideal of ‘me time’. Treating yourself with junk food is not really treating yourself. It can affect how you sleep (very bad for performance), it can affect how you look and it can add unnecessary calories. Carrying extra weight affects how your insulin levels behave which can have a negative impact on your energy.

10. Oily fish three times a week…at least
Consuming oily fish at least three times a week is one of the best dietary changes you can make. It is no secret Omega 3 found in fish is associated with improved brain performance along with contributing to a healthy heart and is all around amazing! It is also very quick to cook and delicious. When eating out pick fish and avoid creamy sauces. Examples of oily fish include are anchovies, carp, eel, herring, mackerel, pilchards, salmon (tinned, fresh or frozen), sardines, swordfish, tuna, trout and whitebait, as well as fresh crab.

Increasing performance in the workplace through your diet is one of the easiest ways to help yourself. As always eat a balanced diet and if you would like help with planning meals, losing weight or getting your workplace to adopt healthier habits get in touch today.

About the author
Laura Willard is a qualified Nutritionist with a BSc in Human Nutrition from UCD, Dublin and has worked with safefood and Operation Transformation.
Laura founded NutriTalks in 2017. NutriTalks is based on a passion of growing a healthy relationship between individuals and food. It specialises in corporate nutrition, family healthy eating, sports nutrition and successful weight loss courses.
If you want an enthusiastic and motivated expert in nutrition, Laura will guide you through all the misinformation to reach your desired outcome. Social: @nutritalksire Email:[email protected]