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Energize your workday with 4 healthy habits

By Shannon Crocker RD

Eating well at work can help boost your attention, productivity and overall vitality. Try these four healthy habits to energize your busy workday:

1. Lighten up at lunch. A big fast food lunch or a carbohydrate-rich lunch can leave you feeling sluggish in the afternoon. Instead, I look for lunches that offer lots of veggies (about half your plate), some whole grains and a good amount of protein (about 20-30 grams).

I love this Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Cottage Cheese – it’s packable, tasty and has a bit of protein to keep you satisfied.

Try this: Make a double batch of this salad, enjoy it as a side salad for dinner and keep extras in the fridge for lunch. When I pack it for lunch, I like to add a bit more cottage cheese and some chickpeas to bump up the protein.

2. Cut the Caffeine. Do you reach for a coffee to keep you going? Too much caffeine can make you feel irritable. Time to swap your sip! Drinking enough water keeps you hydrated and that helps you feel energized. I always have a glass of water at my desk so I can sip throughout the day. Other fluids keep you hydrated too, like sparkling water, tea and milk.

Try this: Add a little lemon, lime, cucumber or mint to perk up your cup – the hint of flavor might make you want to drink more water.

3. Take a break. Eat lunch away from your desk; when you eat distracted (e.g. reading emails) you’re likely to overeat. If you long for a treat when you’re bored with your task, take a short, active break instead. Walk to a coworker’s desk to deliver a message, walk up and down a flight of stairs, or do a few stretches at your desk.

Try this: Take a quick walk before eating your lunch. Walking can help you battle boredom, fight fatigue and squash stress. Just don’t walk and eat! When you walk while you eat, you can end up eating more than you need.

4. Snack smart! Snacking can be healthy if you’re hungry between meals – but there’s a big difference between sweet treats and body-nourishing snacks. Treats like cookies and chocolate are high in sugar but low in nutrients. They offer a quick pick-me-up followed by a moody crash.

Try this: To stay energized and satisfied, pack small nutrient-rich snacks, such as a piece of fruit and handful of almonds, veggies with hummus or a Nordica Smooth.

Here’s to a happy, healthy work day! @shancrockerRD

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