Food has a direct impact on cognitive performance, which means packing an unhealthy lunch or skipping lunch altogether can ruin your productivity in the afternoon. And it’s not only your workplace performance that suffers but your health as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of American adults are obese. This high obesity rate can lead to diabetes and heart disease, both of which indirectly increases business costs through healthcare and higher sick days, resulting in lower work productivity.
The way we talk also affects the way we think- and the way we eat. To avoid bad eating habits, take this mantra to heart:
“Food is not simply just fuel.”
Clearly, we need a nutritious lunch to propel our brain throughout the afternoon shift. Here’s how to make it happen:
Create a Lunch Culture
Eating alone can trigger bad lunch habits such as eating at your desk or skipping lunch altogether. To combat these habits, create a lunch culture in your office by blocking out a specific time for company (or department)-wide lunch. You won’t feel lonely during lunchtime with a group of colleagues in the breakroom, and you’ll feel more accountable to eat lunch. This works for restaurant goers as well as homemade eaters.
Another perk is that the your friend’s lunch today may inspire your lunch tomorrow.
Talking amongst colleagues in a relaxed setting is also an excellent way to increase interdepartmental collaboration and productivity.
Pack a Lunch That Packs Nutrients
After creating a supportive lunch eating environment, the next step is to offer lunch. This ensures your employees consume the nutrients they need to work productively until 5 p.m. Different foods are processed by our bodies at different rates, which determines energy output. Simple-carb foods release glucose quickly, leading to an energy burst followed by a slump aka the 3 p.m. brain fog.
So what foods are suitable for lunch? The answer is whole foods that contain less than 800 calories and are low in simple carbohydrates. Meat such as lean chicken of omega rich tuna on a salad, protein rich bowls, and hearty sandwiches are excellent options.
Tip 1: Foods that spike your blood sugar cause that mid-afternoon brain fog, which as we all know is harmful to our work performance. If this is you, try eating snacks throughout the day that are known to stabilize blood sugar.
Tip 2: Going off Tip 1, it’s hard to pass up unhealthy snacks. Instead of falling victim to your office’s food altar of cookies and donuts, keep a variety of healthy snacks at your desk. Nuts or protein bars are popular choices as they have a longer shelf life and can be eaten easily on busy days. Fruits is a good snack for those with a sweet tooth as they’re satisfying and still have ample nutrients. We’re also partial to crunchy edamame.
If you’re an employer you’re well aware that you can’t tell your employees what to pack for lunch, but you can provide it for them. Read 5 Ways You Earn When You Spend on Office Lunch Delivery.
Now that you know the correlation between a healthy lunch and a productive afternoon, give our ideas a try. You may come up with a few of your own.
Ploy is currently residing in Massachusetts to pursue her passion on being rice specialist and believing in the power of nature. Growing up from exploring exotic places is her favorite with a cup of tea in her hand and a healthy meal in her tummy.