Your small business depends on you. You’ve nurtured your business from the ground up. It’s easy to follow through on the best choices for your company, but what about your food choices? Diet decisions affect work productivity, yet they’re often overlooked in the workplace. Now may be the time to reconsider what you’re eating and, ultimately, feeding your business.
Stay Steady and Snack
Short bursts of energy that wither soon thereafter are not helpful for long-term success. Grabbing a doughnut and few cups of coffee may seem like a keen choice when you’re running out the door, but if your mind and body start short-circuiting halfway through the morning, your customers and staff notice. Stay away from synthetic sugars and exorbitant caffeine highs, because what goes up comes down. Instead, stay blood sugar levels with naturally occurring sugar, such as fruit in your morning cereal, and minimal amounts of caffeine. Think green tea with honey, or regularly reach for half-caff to keep the jitters — and burn-out — at bay.
The quality of your work can diminish if you consistently bypass food that helps you focus. When you begin to feel fatigued throughout the day, smart snacking can improve your mental alertness. Slow-release carbs, like nuts, provide satiety without the sugar spike. Common "vending-machine quality" snacks contain partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats. Stay away from these. Trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels. As a business owner, your stress levels alone can raise your blood cholesterol. Snacks that lower cholesterol help keep you — and your business — running. Consider reaching for an avocado with a dash of pepper and lime, or treat yourself to some dark chocolate.
Midday Meals and More
Snacks are perfect as a pick-me-up between meals, but you also need to keep your main meals in mind. Under-eating is a health risk just as over-eating is. So plan ahead and have the right food on hand ahead of schedule. Fatty fish, such as salmon, is a plentiful source of omega-3 fatty acids, excellent for brain health. You can only obtain the benefits of an omega-3 brain boost through diet, so incorporating these fatty fish into your meals is essential. Vegetables are irreplaceable. Green leafy vegetables, in particular, improve mental ability and memory. Vegetables and fruits also enhance mood, which is always a bonus in the workplace.
Water is worth mentioning. Drinking water while you work enhances your brain function and memory, so keep a bottle nearby. Sipping on water throughout the day maintains hydration without forcing yourself to guzzle until you’re uncomfortable. Thirst can be confused with hunger. Before you reach for your next meal, make sure it’s food — not water — that you’re craving.
When you’re hungry, your ability to make good decisions is skewed. Your mood, mental focus, and the quality of your financial choices can decline with hunger. Lean toward caution, and have your healthy food stash ready in your office fridge. From snacks to fully prepared meals, keep the break-room stocked — and consider sharing with your employees. When you’re prepared to be productive with the right food choices, your workday — and business — can thrive from the inside out.