It’s 2 p.m. and that chicken wrap you had for lunch is beginning to wear off. Your big presentation is an hour away and you need a little pick-me-up. You’re thinking about running to the break room to grab a cup of coffee, but decide your caffeine intake is already off the charts. Forget buying something from the vending machine (aka “The Wheel of Death”)—there’s nothing healthy and light in there. You decide the only food that will provide the productivity boost you’re looking for is the bag of potato chips that came with your wrap.
Whether it’s a mid-morning cookie or an afternoon apple, the snacks you eat could affect how productive you are.
So, here are some snacks and foods that boost your productivity and they’re healthy, too.
Fruits and Vegetables
It’s no secret fruits and vegetables do our bodies good. But did you know that produce can prop up our productivity?
A study in the Journal of British Psychology found people who ate more fruit reported feeling happier and more creative at work. Another study found people eating an unhealthy diet were 66 percent more likely to report productivity loss than co-workers who ate whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Researchers think vitamins, antioxidants and carbohydrates in fruit and vegetables increase the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters involved in mood, behavior and brainpower. So the next time your belly is grumbling, try getting a boost from …
- Blueberries. The flavonoids found in blueberries interact with nerve cells, increasing communication among them and stimulating the regeneration of brain cells.
- Broccoli. Its brain-boosting abilities are tied to its levels of vitamin K, which improves cognitive function.
- Kale. This nutrient-rich vegetable contains vitamin K and manganese, both known for boosting brain function. Manganese also helps with your brain’s ability to focus on tasks and provide energy.
- Avocado. It’s high in monounsaturated fats that protect brain cells and promote blood flow, which increases brain function.
If a brain boost isn’t enough, another study found fruits and vegetables may even help us to be less stressed out at work, too. Whatever your reason, it’s never a bad idea to add more fruits and veggies to your diet.
Fish contains omega-3 fats, which help fight inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.
The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines.
A quick fish taco, fish finger or even a few sardines might help get you through the afternoon. (Just make sure to have breath mints ready if you’re heading to a meeting.)
Nuts are also a good source of omega-3 fats. They’re also rich in vitamin E, which has been known to prevent cognitive decline.
Almonds and walnuts are two great sources of vitamin E. Peanuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans and macadamia nuts are also good choices.
If you keep hitting the wall at work and are looking for ways to get over it, take a look in your lunch bag. The snacks you bring could provide the pick-me-up you need to get through your day.
If you’d like to learn more tips on healthy eating and guide your weight-loss journey, download our weight loss guide, A New Way to a New You: Lose Weight the Right Way.