You’ve probably heard the expression, “you are what you eat,” and it’s absolutely true.
While you can’t eat productivity, focus, or cognitive function, you can certainly tailor your diet to fuel you with the nutrients you need to boost those things.
That’s the message that Ann Porter, Registered Clinical Dietitian at Nutrition On the Go, Inc. and Launch Workplaces member, imparts on her clients.
So, we sat down with Ann to tap into her expertise for how to enhance your workday with proper nutrition.
Check out our interview with her below.
Why is proper nutrition so important?
Nutrition is vital to living a happy, healthy, and successful life.
Ever since I was in the ninth grade in Jamaica and was introduced to food and nutrition, I knew I wanted to be a dietitian and nutritionist because I love the functionality of food and what it does for the body on a micro level.
It can heal you. It makes you feel good. It can prevent a lot of the onset of disease conditions. It can even help heal the body and negate the need for prescribed medications that can have other effects on your organs.
Beyond that, it can even help improve your workdays by increasing your cognitive function, focus, creativity, concentration, and memory.
What can people do to incorporate the benefits of nutrition into their lives?
There are a lot of things that you can do if you want to start focusing on your diet and the ways that it can help you in your daily life and at work.
Get a good night’s sleep
While this isn’t food-related, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. You need at least six to eight hours each night because, during that time, your body gets the opportunity to repair itself from the day’s work and to make use of all the nutrients you take in.
Making sure to stay hydrated is vital. You need to be thoroughly hydrated, so make sure you’re getting enough fluids. Drink lots of water—it’s great for your kidneys, which are the filtering organs of your body.
Start your day with a balanced breakfast
Set the tone for your day by having a balanced breakfast. It’s been proven that a breakfast with the right mix of macros, vitamins, and minerals will give you the vigor to move throughout the day. If you don’t have that, your blood sugar drops while working and you start to feel tired, irritable, and unfocused.
Make sure to get the right kind of nutrition, including:
- Carbs: Seek healthy carbs like whole grains, whole fruit, and vegetables.
- Protein: You can find protein in tons of different foods, from meat to fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, and more.
- Fats: Good fats are crucial for brain function and can be found in things like avocados, fish, seeds, and nuts.
In general, look to foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free dairy products or dairy alternatives. They’ll give you the vitamin D, calcium, fibre, and other pertinent micronutrients your body needs. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt because they’ll have a negative effect on your body.
Make sure you enjoy all kinds of foods
It’s important to make sure to enjoy all types of foods. Don’t leave out a food group because you think it’s “bad” for you.
For example, carbohydrates often get a bad rap because people think they’re fattening. But the truth is you actually need carbs because that’s where you get glucose required to fuel your brain.
Eat all foods, but do it in moderation.
Be mindful when eating
You need to be present and mindful while you’re eating so that you can pick up on hunger and fullness cues before and after eating. This will help you to avoid overeating.
Enjoy your food, try not to eat too fast, and consider staying away from distractions like your phone or TV while enjoying a meal. That supports mindless eating which is inadvisable because you need to be in tune with your body while consuming food.
Spread out your snacks and meals
Some folks like to eat three meals throughout the day and others will do three meals plus snacks. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your body: listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
It’s good to fuel your body throughout the day, but make sure you’re not snacking on things that are high in sugar or full of processed carbohydrates. Look for snacks that include a whole grain plus a protein, like an apple and a piece of cheese or a protein bar that’s going to provide a high amount of fiber.
Be mindful of caffeine intake
Having a cup or two of coffee each day—8 to 16 ounces—has been shown to have beneficial effects, but too much can dehydrate you or cause you to crash. It’s also wise to be mindful of coffee additives, like sugar and creamers, that can end up making your drink less healthy.
Ultimately, moderation is the key to the game: eat the right foods, stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it. Make sure you’re having balance and consistency—this is the key to enhancing your life with good nutrition.
If you’re curious about nutrition or want to learn how you can incorporate it into your life, visit Nutrition On the Go, Inc. or give them a call at (301) 263-7319 to schedule a consultation.