Health matters for productivity, but eating well can be a challenge when you have a lot on your schedule.
Healthy eating for better productivity
This week’s episode was sparked by a conversation launched in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group by a great question from Chiara: “What are your hacks for healthy eating when we are always so busy with 1000s of other things?” This is something I’ve been thinking about lately, so I was glad for Chiara’s question and the great suggestions offered by other women in the community.
Why does it matter?
It’s just this simple: what we eat affects our health, and healthy people are more productive.
“There have been countless studies on the effects of food and your productivity levels. The World Health Organization reports that “adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.” You’ll be better able to focus and accomplish tasks when you’ve eaten properly.”
Why is it hard?
Lack of time, money, and options. As one writer tells us:
- You need a good market (that offers healthy food at reasonable prices)
- You need time to shop
- You need to transport all the food
- You need time to cook
- You need equipment, seasonings, and ancillary ingredients
- You need cooking skills
Tips and suggestions
Ideas from the pros
- Limit your processed foods. Junk food, cheap frozen dinners, and other packaged goods will give you a temporary spike in blood sugar, but you’ll crash hard and gain weight in the process. If you’re in a hurry, opt for a delicious organic frozen meal instead.
- Eat the right foods. Berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, nuts and seeds, tuna, beef, dairy, whole grains, and green tea can do wonders for boosting your energy levels.
- Eat breakfast every morning. As the study mentioned earlier points out, eating breakfast is key to high performance in the morning hours.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is just as important as other nutrients while you’re trying to stay focused at work.
- Make healthier snacks readily available. Pre-pack healthy snacks like carrot sticks, apple slices, nuts, and other healthy options so you reach for one of these rather than for a processed alternative.”
- Plan ahead. Make your eating decisions before you get hungry. Make healthy snacking easier to achieve than unhealthy snacking. Place a container of almonds and a selection of protein bars by your computer, near your line of vision. Bring a bag of fruit to the office on Mondays so that you have them available throughout the week.
- Use an automated subscription service to restock supplies.
- Simplify cooking. As one writer reminds us, “Meals don’t need to be elaborate to taste delicious.”
What’s working for the TPW community
- Prep healthy snacks (cut carrot sticks, wash apples, grapes, etc.) and make them visible.
- Keep sweets in the basement, or somewhere not immediately accessible.
- Prep breakfast for an entire week on the weekend and eat the same thing every morning.
- Start with one healthy change and then add another.
- Swap sweetened beverages with water.
- Make extra food that can be used for lunches.
- Fill half (or more) of your plate with vegetables and/or fruit, leaving less space for carbs and other main dishes.
- Meal prep. Cut fruits or vegetables and organize them into containers so you can use them throughout the week. Cook enough to last a few meals.
- Wash and cut fruits and vegetables
- Put snack portions of nuts and crackers and keep them readily available.
- Use an air fryer (community member recommends Skinnytaste Airfryer cookbook)
- Cottage cheese, protein powder, chocolate almond milk, and frozen veggies are go-to for healthy foods.
- Batch cook and freeze them. Use ripe bananas for smoothies or as an ice cream substitute.
- Use a slow cooker to make whole, healthy foods (community member recommends 100 days of real food website)
- Long-time community member (and our guest on episode 263) Claire Kellems has written a blog post about organizing the fridge to help with healthy eating.
Basically, healthy eating requires awareness, intentionality, and some forethought!
Big thanks to Chiara for her great question and to each of the other women in the community who shared ideas and suggestions about what’s working for them: Mary Rose, Christine, Brenda, Carolyn, Sheila, Amelia, Leslie, Alicia, Annabelle, and Claire.
What do you think?
- Your Productivity Level Depends on What You Eat
- 6 reasons eating healthy is harder than you think
- What You Eat Affects Your Productivity
- 100 days of real food
- Organize Your Fridge for Healthy Eating
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