The Channel 4 programme You Are What You Eat saw an ever-exasperated Gillian McKeith scold the nation for our insistence of chomping down on all thing sugary, salty, and fatty. Most of us didn’t want to hear it, and took great pleasure in the opportunity to subsequently punish the nutritionist by making her eat bugs and cuddle rats during her stint on the jungle-survival reality show I’m a Celebrity.
But McKeith has a point. Our diet has a huge impact on how we look, how we feel… and even how good we are at our job! Fact is, our productivity at work depends on loads of factors – from how tired we are to our dehydration level – that can be improved by eating and drinking right.
If you’ve got a busy workday coming up and want to stay energised from 9-5, pack your lunchbox with the below. It’s a meal guaranteed to keep you on your A-Game, and with not a witchetty grub in sight.
Main: Spinach Frittata
Frittata is made from egg, which is our superfood numero uno. That’s because eggs are full of a nutrient called choline, which improves your memory and reaction times. More eggy goodness comes from the vitamins B5 and B12, which both help keep your energy levels up and reduce your stress levels. Having eggs for lunch, therefore, is the perfect way to avoid that mid-afternoon slump.
Spinach is also a bit of a miracle food. For a start, it’s really good for your eye health. Many of us spend much of our workday staring at computer screens, which is not good for our vision, so giving our eyeballs a little TLC is important! Spinach is also jam-packed with such a lot of vitamin-y goodness that people who eat spinach twice a day reach old age with the cognitive ability of someone eleven years younger than themselves.
Convinced? You can find a spinach frittata recipe here.
Dessert: Fruit and Nut Yoghurt
We’ve all seen those adverts that say eating probiotic yoghurt makes for a happy tummy, right? The reason that yoghurt is so great for us is that it contains the sort of good bacteria which keeps our body healthy. But those bacteria are great for our brains too: they make us less emotional and make us feel more positive.
Adding a banana to your yoghurt is another great way to keep your energy up: a banana contains all the glucose our brains require to function properly; keeping our brain cogs whirring until home time.
A sprinkling of nuts also adds benefits. Almonds, for example, are rich in Vitamin E, which has been shown to improve cognitive performance. Almonds also contain magnesium, which performs the double-whammy of warding off headaches and fatigue while also preventing cortisol (the stress hormone) from entering your brain.
Snack: Dark Chocolate
Yes, you can be healthy and eat chocolate! In fact, dark chocolate could reasonably lay claim to being a bit of a superfood. It triggers the release of endorphins, which in turn improves your focus and concentration.
If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, you’re in luck: milk chocolate has also been shown to have brain benefits. It can both improve your alertness and strengthen your verbal and visual memory.
Drink: Green Tea
Green tea is officially a miracle drink. It contains caffeine, so keeps you alert, while avoiding the unpleasant “jitters” some people get from drinking coffee. It’s also particularly good at boosting your memory functions.
Peppermint tea is also a great alternative, because even the smell of peppermint has been shown to boost memory, processing speed, and alertness.
Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs listings for roles. Or; if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.