Nothing is worse than feeling motivated in the morning to conquer your workday only to be struck by a midday slump. Life would be simpler if you felt focused, energized, and productive all day at work, but, unfortunately, most of us are left feeling taxed, tired, and stressed by lunchtime.
What’s more, fueling your body with the wrong foods can turn even the best morning into a rough day! Caffeine and fast food may give you the energy boost you crave in the middle of the day, but they can also derail a day of healthy eating and drive you to more unhealthy choices.
Feed your body what it needs and get back to feeling motivated with these practical tips for eating well throughout the workday.
Don’t ignore your growling belly! Your body needs to regularly take in food to stay fueled throughout the day. If you ignore the grumblings, it can become more and more difficult to know when you’re really hungry and when you should stop snacking.
You’ve heard it your whole life; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A breakfast packed with protein, complex carbs, and fruit will keep you fuller longer and prevent you from snacking on unnecessary—and high-calorie—foods. Whether you eat before you leave the house or once you get to the office, start your day with a healthy meal. But don’t skip lunch, either, because it’s actually just as important as breakfast! Take a break and eat a midday meal to help you feel full and energized for the rest of the day.
Why are breakfast and lunch so important? Skipping meals can easily leave you feeling exhausted for the rest of the day, causing you to eat everything in sight when you get home from work. Your body needs the nutrients that breakfast and lunch provide to avoid unhealthy snacks and keep you focused.
What you eat impacts your body and energy levels just as much as when you eat. Grabbing a quick candy bar simply isn’t the same as a healthy lunch. Your body is a machine, and it needs the right fuel to help it run properly and keep you awake during long days at work.
A quick drive-thru meal may be a fast solution for breakfast or lunch, but it’s not a sustainable option. Fast food is often packed with sugar, salt, fat, and low-quality proteins that can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish. Instead, fill your meals with fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats!
If you always rush out the door in the morning and don’t have time to put food together, consider packing the night before or becoming a weekend meal planner. For snack lovers, look into healthier versions of your favorite treats that you can keep at your desk.
We’ve all done it. You grab a quick snack and tell yourself you’ll only have a few bites, but you get distracted—and the next thing you know, you’ve eaten the whole thing. It’s easy to do, but this overeating steals the enjoyment of the snack’s delicious flavor away.
Be mindful of your meals and cut back on the potential distractions. During your lunch break, try stepping away from your work so you can enjoy your meal. Stop checking your email, doing one last task, or—if you can—talking about work. Take a few moments and savor the delicious meal you packed for yourself. Pay attention to what you’re eating and when your body tells you you’re full to avoid overeating.
Coffee is the lifeblood of almost every office, but overdoing the caffeine can begin to seriously tax your body. Consider how much coffee—and other caffeinated beverages—you’re consuming in a day to feel energized enough to get through your work. Eventually, your body will become accustomed to large quantities of caffeine, and it simply won’t be as effective.
You don’t need to quit caffeine cold, but you can decrease your intake by downsizing your mug or mixing your regular coffee with decaf. Or, instead of grabbing another cup of joe, maybe try a mug of green tea or water.
Hunger can lead to loud stomach grumbles, but thirst can manifest in major headaches. To prevent this, keep your body hydrated by having a water bottle on hand. The worst-case scenario is you’ll go to the bathroom a little more frequently (and drink fewer tasty yet unhealthy drinks). But the best-case scenario is you’ll feel more energized and awake during your workday!
When it comes to how much water your body needs, there is no hard-and-fast rule. The best way to know when you need water is to simply listen to your body. If you’re feeling thirsty, take a drink! Another easy way to gauge your hydration level is to keep an eye on your bathroom breaks. If your urine is clear or very light yellow, you’re hydrating appropriately!
Consuming healthy foods for breakfast and lunch, staying hydrated, and avoiding distractions while eating can keep you feeling focused and avoid that sluggish midday slump. Adopt a few of these practical tips for eating well throughout the workday and notice a distinct difference in your work performance!