Feeling tired at work? Bounce back with more energy with superfoods that can help increase your productivity – and actually taste good, too.
Why does eating right feel so exhausting? Most of us would love to eat healthier, but with busy schedules who has the time to buy and prepare fancy salads and entrees? You have to eat around your work schedule — not the other way around.
The problem is the food you may be cramming down your throat while rushing to work might actually be hurting your productivity at work. We have all felt that midday crawl, where time seems suspended. All you want to do is close your eyes and drift away into a slumber, but this is not very productive. However there are are actually healthy and easy-to-prepare snacks that can also boost your productivity. Here are some problems you may be having at work and the superfoods that can cure them. (Click here to tweet this list.)
Problem #1- Memory Lapses
Superfood Solution: Blueberries
Did I say blueberries? I meant brainberries! That’s right; blueberries can boost a wide range of your cognitive abilities. Blueberries have been found to help improve memory. A recent study shows that the high flavonoid content in blueberries helps to enhance memory and could even protect you against Alzheimer’s. As an added bonus, eating blueberries can also help you lose weight. The catechins in blueberries have been found to increase weight loss in the abdomen by over 70%. If this hasn’t sold you on adding blueberries to your diet, then nothing will.
How to Prepare:
Blueberries are extremely easy to prepare. For breakfast, just add some washed blueberries into a bowl of plain yogurt — perhaps even go a little crazy and add some crushed granola. In less than a minute you will have a healthy breakfast that will help keep you productive throughout the day. Another delicious way to get your blueberry snack on is to make a smoothie. Add some fresh blueberries, milk, and a little ice into a blender. In a few seconds you will have a fantastic drink that you can take on the go. While recipes with blueberries may be fun, let’s be honest — they are great on their own too, as they are bursting with juicy greatness. If you are really stressed for time, just fill a Ziploc bag and snack on them throughout the workday.
Problem #2- Energy is Running on Empty
Superfood Solution: Popcorn
This one may come as a surprise, but popcorn can actually put a little pep in your step. Popcorn is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which are great for sustaining energy. Complex carbs are good for you because they break down slowly and release sugar steadily into the bloodstream, thus helping to sustain energy for a longer period of time. As long as you don’t douse your popcorn in butter, then it is also a great low fat and low calorie snack. The National Cancer Institute, the American Dental Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all suggest adding popcorn to your diet.
How to Prepare:
When deciding which brand to buy, keep an eye out for those that are whole grain and organic. Try to stay away from the microwaveable kind as those are often loaded with unhealthy additives. Cooking popcorn on the stove is a healthy alternative to using the microwave and only takes about 3-4 minutes. To jazz up the flavor you can experiment with adding things like shredded parmesan, curry powder, sun dried tomato, or Worchester sauce. Bringing in your popcorn to work will not only make you productive, but will make you popular with your coworkers as well.
Problem #3- Lack of Focus
Superfood Solution: Dark Chocolate
How can dark chocolate increase your productivity at work? Dark chocolate’s high-flavanol cocoa helps to increase blood flow to the brain, helping to stimulate cognitive functions. Like blueberries, dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants. The caffeine in chocolate also helps to stimulate you and keep you alert.
How to Prepare:
Now before you run to the supermarket to buy up all the Snickers and Milky Ways, it’s important to note that the benefits can only be reaped from chocolate with a high cocoa content. Much of the chocolate on the market is filled with sugar, chemicals, and other additives that have negative effects on your body. So the rule is: the darker the better. Dark chocolate often contains over 70% cocoa and is low in sugar. When shopping for chocolate make sure to check the label for cocoa content at least over 70% and that it hasn’t been processed with alkali as it can reduce the content of flavonoids. If eating chocolate is too boring for you, then try making your own trail mix. Mix some dark chocolate, raisins, some various nuts and you will have healthy snack to help keep you focused throughout the day.
Problem #4- Bad Mood
Superfood Solution: Almonds
Going to work upset and in a bad mood distracts you from your work and reduces your productivity. If you need a pick-me-up, almonds may be the superfood for you. Almonds contain a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that people with low blood levels of omega-3 have symptoms of depression such as a negative outlook and impulsiveness. Omega-3 is not produced by the body so it’s important to include it in your diet. To sum it up, the cell membranes in your brain are made up of fatty acids like omega-3. Research suggests that a healthy intake of omega-3 keeps these membranes more elastic allowing a better flow of electrical impulses to pass to your neurons.
How to Prepare:
Like blueberries and dark chocolate, almonds would go great with yogurt or trail mix. If you want to try something different, then try candied almonds. All you need are some almonds, water, and a little cinnamon and sugar. In 15 minutes you will have a sweet snack to take with you to work.
Problem #5- Having a Hard Time Learning New Concepts?
Superfood Solution: Spinach
It looks like Popeye was on to something as spinach is a great brain power food. At work we sometimes are forced to learn new concepts or how to use a new application. Spinach is great for keeping your mind sharp. Spinach contains the B-vitamin, folate, which increases circulation of the brain and helps reduce plaque. Your body also uses folate to build neurotransmitters in your brain that are essential to thinking and learning.
How to Prepare:
Most people don’t give spinach a chance because they have a negative impression of it. However, it is quite easy to prepare and very delicious. With a bit of olive oil, salt, and parmesan cheese you can sauté your spinach and take it with you to lunch. Looking for something a little more colorful and fun? Then try a strawberry spinach salad. Mix some spinach, strawberries, cucumber, and almonds (see above) in a bowl. Add a little vinaigrette and you have an easy salad that will keep your mind fresh.
During the workday it is essential to refresh your mind and stay focused. Try these suggestions above to stay productive throughout the day. If you have some of your own easy recipes using these superfoods then share them with us below.
Erik Episcopo is a career and resume expert at Resume Genius, the web’s #1 resource for resume writers, job seekers and the unemployed.