A lot of articles give us advice on boosting work performance by enjoying some downtime, avoiding multi-tasking, blocking out time wasters, and more. While these strategies are highly effective, we fail to tackle the importance of healthy snacking habits. Just because snacking is done in between meals doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought.
Snacking helps keep our blood sugar levels stable and provides us with additional nutrients, so that we can focus better and stay energized at work. As a manager or employee, you need to create a healthy snack foods list and stick to it, so that you can perform at your best every day.
Why is healthy snacking important?
Healthy Snacking Improves Brain Function
People can use healthy snacking as a secret weapon to keep their brains sharp at work. According to Harvard Health Publications, our brains require a continuous supply of fuel for it to function. This fuel comes from what we eat. The quality of foods we take in makes all the difference. Snacks that contain a lot of sodium and preservatives can negatively impact your memory.
Certain snack foods can also zap your focus. These snacks might be the reason why some employees’ minds tend to wander at work while productivity decreases. Examples of these not-so-great foods include diet soda, ice cream, microwave popcorn, and donuts.
Stock up on brain-boosting snacks that enhance your memory and concentration such as whole eggs, blueberries, dark chocolate, and kale chips.
Healthy Snacking Boosts Energy and Supports the Immune System
One of the factors that negatively affects employees’ performance at work is sickness. Sickness leads to absenteeism, which not only impacts a worker’s salary but also the well-being of other staff members who bear the added workload.
Inflammation in the body can prevent the immune system from functioning well. When inflammation develops, a person becomes susceptible to flu, colds, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Poor food choices, like too much fat and sugar, can actually contribute to an inflammatory response. We often assume that stress is the only culprit behind the process of inflammation, but food plays a significant role.
Healthy snacking has restorative effects on the body. Snacking healthily enables people to stay awake and alert physically and mentally. To restore our energy and support our immune system, we need to choose nutrient-dense and disease-fighting snacks at work like salmon, dark lettuce, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Healthy Snacking Boosts Positive Emotions
What you eat can affect how you feel. Snacks that are loaded with sugar make you feel euphoric and giddy at first with a crash and irritability afterward. The fact is that sugar increases the risk for depression. Take note that people who often pick healthy snacks tend to exhibit more calm and happy emotions, while those who load up on refined carbohydrates often experience mood swings.
Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals that triggers positive emotions. A simple and practical solution to naturally boost serotonin at work is to eat snacks that are rich in tryptophan. The reason for this is that tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. It is the key ingredient for the synthesis of serotonin in the body. Serotonin isn’t found in foods, so consuming those that contain tryptophan is the way to boost serotonin production in the body.
Here’s the good news: There are a lot of snack options that contain high levels of tryptophan. These snacks include eggs, pineapples, fish, nuts, and beets. As a rule, choose snacks that are high in protein since most of them contain tryptophan.
Snacking is an important activity that employees can leverage to boost mental focus, stay physically strong, and support healthy emotions. Food has a holistic effect on the human body. The nutrients found in the snacks we eat can either encourage our bodies to break down or become stronger. Make the right choices and you’ll thank yourself later.