Energy Foods for City Workers

By Ben Davidson, Total Diet Food

Days are long and intense in the city, and food is for wimps. Too much to do and not enough time to do it, let alone take a break and look after yourself. But taking that break might actually make you even more productive, and could more than make up for the time lost.

We’re hearing a lot of debate just now about whether it should be ok to powernap at your desk. The benefits in terms of mood, focus and productivity could be significant. But you could achieve a similar boost to your output with less controversy, just by eating the right things.

While you’re burning the midnight oil, sending out for a pizza or curry might be tempting, but high fat foods, especially on a regular basis, are going to lead to lower energy levels and shorter focus, as well as the more obvious health problems. What’s more, a short term boost from foods with lots of sugar will also leave you feeling less full and encourage you to eat more, reinforcing a cycle of highs and lows.

What you want are foods high in carbohydrates, to release energy, but also containing fibre, which slows the release of that energy. That means the energy released is properly balanced rather than getting a short-term boost that results in a crash later on. Bad carbs that will only give you short-term boosts include foods like white bread, white rice, cakes, bagels, pasta.

You’ll find good carbs in whole grain rice and bread, vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans. Energy bars are often presented as a healthy food, and while they may be low in fat, you need to read the label carefully to decide if they are actually what you need. Many try to replicate a coffee high by being packed with sugar. And sugar replacements can often lead to more hunger, as the body tastes something sweet, but doesn’t get the boost it expects, so starts to crave more.

You might think you’re fine getting your burst from a coffee, and if you’re in control of your habit, then you’re probably right. In moderate amounts, coffee does have plenty of health benefits, including providing antioxidants, and has been linked to reductions in heart disease, Alzheimers and diabetes. But don’t forget that it’s a drug. You can become addicted, and when that happens, your tolerance increases, which means you have to drink more to feel the same effect. You can become dependent and experience heavy crashes in between drinks.

So instead, think about getting the right nutrients into your meals, and you’ll find you don’t need to snack as often, and your energy levels will stay more constant for longer. You’ll rely less on coffee, and your focus and productivity will increase. Your moods will likely improve as well – statistics reveal that those with a good nutrition score have a 6% higher job satisfaction score and a 15% higher mood score than people judged to have poor nutrition.

People with poor nutrition scores also report 50% more sickness absence and are 15% less productive than those with good nutritional balance. With such significant benefits to be gained from monitoring your diet, there’s no excuse. It doesn’t even have to feel like you’re on a diet, as you won’t be forced to go without. Eat the right foods, and you’ll feel fuller for longer. You feel better, your work improves, everybody wins.

But days are long and intense in the city, so you may feel you haven’t got time to think about it. Choosing the right foods might mean preparing things yourself the night before, or having to search out the right place to buy them. It’s much easier to just call that takeaway.

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