If you love food as much as I do, then you're always looking for excuses to eat throughout the day. Bored, stressed, nervous, happy... all very legitimate reasons to head to the kitchen. I'm here to share with you another reason to eat: greater productivity. Hard work requires a sharp mind and plenty of energy, and eating the right foods can boost productivity
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You're probably thinking: No way, this is just a fabricated excuse to eat more. Allow me to explain. Glucose is what provides our brain with the energy it needs to stay alert and focused. Just about everything you eat is converted to glucose. When we're running low on glucose, we tend to lose focus easily. This is why it’s hard to work on an empty stomach. 
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Great, so I'll just stuff my face with spaghetti and I'm golden. Not so fast. According to Harvard Business Review, not all foods are processed by our bodies the same way. For example, foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar release glucose quickly, so we get an immediate burst of energy followed by a lethargic crash. So it's important to assess the consequences of your food choices when productivity is on the line.
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Snacks to Maximize Productivity

 
The next time you're looking for foods that boost productivity, put down that greasy bag of chips and reach for one of these options instead:
 

1. Almonds

Almonds are the go-to when looking for foods that increase focus. They are easy to store and packed with lots of healthy fats and necessary calories to get you through your day. Not only that, but the protein in almonds helps curb your appetite without feeling sluggish. 
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Almonds

2. Green Tea

Ok, this isn't really a snack. But it's a healthy, caffeine-packed alternative to coffee and guaranteed to provide you with nutrition and productivity. Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine that improves focus and helps the brain stay alert. L-theanine mixed with just the right amount of caffeine is the perfect recipe for a productive day. Other benefits include boosting metabolism, lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and improving skin health...who can say no to that!
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Green Tea
 

3. Bananas

Remember how I said glucose gives you the energy to stay focused? A single banana is packed with the daily amount of glucose your body needs to stay productive throughout the day. Bananas also have a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, so they'll keep you feeling full longer; preventing you from making multiple trips to the kitchen. 
  . Bananas
 

4. Eggs

There's a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eggs are chock-full of a B vitamin called choline, which is known to help improve memory and speed up reaction times. Not to mention, there are so many easy ways to prepare eggs: scrambled, hard-boiled, egg salad, etc. Little time needed for preparation, and lots of EGGcellent benefits. 
  . Eggs
 

5. Dark Chocolate

Yes, you read that right. Dark chocolate has an abundance of nutrients that contribute to your work performance. The sugar and caffeine in dark chocolate gives you just the right amount of energy to get work done without getting the post-coffee jitters. The magnesium in chocolate also helps relieve stress and anxiety. I just provided you with another excuse to eat chocolate, and for that, you're welcome. 
  . Dark Chocolate
 
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6. Water

Not only does it effect your overall health, water and hydration play a big role in productivity. Made up of 80% of water, your brain highly depends on you staying hydrated. drinking lots of water (recommend 8 glasses or 2 liters a day) can not only boost energy levels significantly, but improve your mental flexibility by 14%
 

 Because I like to mix it up a bit, here are few dynamic duo combinations that will keep both your stomach and your brain happy:
 

7. Apple & Peanut Butter

Apples are very rich in antioxidants and have about 13g of sugar, which make them a more effective source of energy than coffee. Pair them with a tablespoon or two of your favorite natural peanut butter and you have the perfect combination of energy + protein to keep your mind sharp and your tummy full.
 . Apple & Peanut Butter
 
 

8. Yogurt & Granola

The amount of sleep you get is also directly related to what you eat. Lack of sleep or insomnia is often caused from hunger pains. If you tend to eat dinner early, having a small snack a few hours before bed helps improve sleep so you are recharged and ready to start your day. Yogurt and granola are great snacks to curb those late-night sugar cravings and ease hunger pains so you can be well rested for the day ahead.
 . Yogurt & Granola
 

9. Carrots & Hummus

Ah, there's nothing like the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy. Carrots are delicious and you can pair hummus with pretty much anything. The luteolin found in carrots helps improve memory, while hummus contains Omega 3 fatty acids and amino acids which help improve intelligence and boost your mood. Hummus also packs lots of protein and calories that help curb your hunger longer. 
 . Carrots & Hummus
 

 

 

Snacks to Avoid

 

1. Sweets

 
Of course, the sugar rush is great for a brief burst of energy — but what goes up must come down. Instead of productive creativity you'll find yourself struggling to keep your head up and eyes open. Reach for more nutritional high-energy snacks such as apples, nuts, or green tea.
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2. Salty foods

Salt may be your best friend, but is also your worst enemy. Every salty food — whether it's chips, pretzels, french fries, sushi (check out the sodium on that soy sauce bottle) — will leave you feeling bloated and thirsty. Try to snack on something lighter, or if you are in the mood for sushi, opt for the light sodium soy sauce and steer clear of the deep fried rolls. 
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What healthy snacks do you reach for when you're looking to boost productivity?

Share your snack ideas in the comments.
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Ready to eat healthy and reduce stress? Check out these 7 Exercises for Reducing Stress (Infographic)
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