We all spend hours upon hours at the workplace. The standard nine to five leaves us drained, tired, exhausted. Tell us, does this sound familiar? You get up, you go to work, and you get home. And even though you have a couple of hours of free time at your disposal, you spend it in front of the TV or computer, unable to move and do something exciting or productive? What about getting sleepy in the middle of the workday and having your productivity plummet? Well, while we definitely won’t underestimate the toll a nine to five job has on a person, we need to point out that your diet might be a large influence on your energy levels.
Namely, think of your body as a machine. Your machine needs fuel, it needs it at the right times, in the right amounts. Getting high-quality fuel means you will get high-quality performance. Putting low-quality fuel will just make your run poorly, and will sap your energy. For this reason, we have written up this little article. Below you can find some nutrition tips that will maximize your energy levels both at work and when you get home.
Make smart choices and replacements
The core point of taking care of your diet and keeping your energy levels going is all about making smart choices and getting the right foods. Namely, your energy levels, your immune system, all of this depends on many things, and your diet is one of the most important factors. So, try to get as much protein and veggies in your diet. Fats are not the devil but do try to use healthy sources, like olive oil and nuts, instead of fast food and vegetable oil. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, and try to replace all your simple carb sources with complex carbs. Leafy greens, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, lean meats like veal or chicken breast, this all leads to higher energy levels and a healthier lifestyle.
And we understand if you are in a bind and don’t have the time to cook. If you have to eat out, if you simply can’t bring lunch with you at the office, then we suggest you at least go with the lesser of two evils. For example, instead of a bacon cheeseburger or pizza, actually get a vegan sandwich, a salad, a chicken sub… Furthermore, avoid certain condiments like the plague. Mayo, for example, is full of unhealthy fats and has too many calories to actually be worth it. Go with mustard or even ketchup.
Don’t skip breakfast
The way we spend our mornings can make or break our day. Namely, we wake up, we are tired, groggy, we hit the snooze button, and we lay around in bed for another 15 minutes. Then, we just get dressed as quickly as possible, rush out the door, trying to get to work on time. There is absolutely no time for a healthy breakfast here.
However, breakfast matter a lot. First of all, the simple mental aspect of starting your day slow, no rush, just sitting down and having a nice meal will improve your mood substantially. On the physical side of things, you need your fuel to start the day off right. Furthermore, having a strong breakfast will help your metabolism, research has shown that a protein and fat-filled breakfast can decrease anxiety and help you actually lose weight.
We advise you have scrambled egg whites with some cheese, sausages, and a glass of milk. Stay away from cereal and pancakes – these are dessert, not an actual, proper meal. And even if you truly don’t have the time to eat a big breakfast, try to eat at least something – just don’t skip it. A ham sandwich or some fruit will do the trick.
Try having five meals per day
A good way to keep your fuel levels up without crashing is having several meals per day. Namely, a huge energy killer is when you have a huge meal at lunchtime, and they just want to snooze for an hour or two. And since you can’t really take a nap at work, you just end up having low energy for the rest of the day, feeling all bloated and stuffed. On the other hand, skipping meals is never a good idea. We suggest you make a compromise and have several meals throughout the day.
Now, the simpler way to do this is to just get leave half of that burger or sandwich for later. However, you can also get food from home, bring it with you to work, and have it placed in separate containers. Meal prepping is great for this since you already have the work of distributing and separating your food pretty much done.
Think about binging and special occasions
This refers to your eating habits both inside and outside the office. Namely, there is a difference between relaxing your diet somewhat and actually binging. If there is some kind of office party happening, or if you’re are abroad on a business trip or seminar, sticking to your special nutritional plan can hinder your productivity and make things very complicated. This doesn’t mean that you can just binge on cake and danishes the moment you hit a smorgasbord. Have some cake at the office party, indulge a bit, but the emphasis on the words “a bit”. One piece of cake, with some lean meat and veggies, will tide you over nicely. Gorging yourself on several pieces of cake and bread pudding won’t do much for your health or your figure.
Furthermore, when you binge on some simple carb foods, like cake, sugar, pancakes, white bread, etc., you will feel a serious drop in energy basically an hour after you are done. Unlike complex carbs (whole-wheat choices, leafy vegetables…), simple carbs are digested all at once and will give you a burst, and then a significant drop, of energy.
Go with healthy snacks
There is nothing wrong with snacking. In fact, it can be very useful since it gives you solid bursts of energy throughout the day. They can help you avoid binging on large meals, they regulate your stress levels and can serve as a great way to get as many vitamins and minerals as you can. Of course, this hinges on what type of snacks you actually get.
Maybe trying out a Matcha Chia Protein Pudding, which gives you a solid amount of protein, while the matcha green tea gives you a shot of healthy caffeine. Or, you can go with something a bit less exotic, and get some dark chocolate. The fruit is always a good option, as are nuts of basically any kind.
Water and caffeine mater
Caffeine is great for a boost of energy in the middle of the day. However, it can have serious consequences after a while. It gives you a spike of energy, but that same energy will drop very soon. If you want to avoid crashes like that, we suggest you get caffeine sources that are a bit milder and healthier. We already mentioned the matcha chia pudding, but a simple cup of green tea can also often do the trick.
Water also drastically influences your mood and health. Namely, we rarely drink enough water these days, and after a time it shows. You won’t really feel dehydrated as much as you will get mood swings, headaches, and just lower energy levels. Furthermore, slight dehydration can even cause depressive feelings and a general lack of motivation. Try to have at least eight cups per day, and stick to them.
Learn how to cook
Learn how to cook. There are two obstacles when it comes to fixing up your nutrition. First, actually getting healthy foods that taste good, and the second one being logistics. For example, there might not be any food place near your office that provides good, high-quality meals. Or, you might be getting sick of boiled chicken breast and broccoli every day. And if you want to keep your energy levels high, you need healthy food. Cooking solves both problems.
First of all, if you know how to cook properly, you can fix up some nutritious, healthy meals in no time. By knowing how to combine ingredients and add some spices, you can make healthy foods less bland, as well as making them a bit more portable. Grilled chicken breast with asparagus and brown rice, seasoned properly, with some extra veggies and spices, can be a delicious meal that you can take to the office.
Furthermore, cooking gives you a better understanding of what ingredients are being used, and how people are using them. Understanding just how much butter goes into a slice of cake, or how fatty that burger patty is, will help you make better choices.
And there you have it folks, some tips on how to boost your energy levels and survive the nine to five grind. It doesn’t have to be hard, you just need to develop the right habits. So, never skip breakfast, and actually have a proper meal – skip the pancakes, and get some bacon, sausages, and eggs in there. Furthermore, try to space out your meals throughout the day – four or five meals means you will be able to avoid crashing during lunchtime after a big meal. You should also avoid binging, no matter how fun the event is, or no matter how delicious the food looks. Finally, stay hydrated, learn how to cook, and be smart about your meal choices.
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