By Brandi Thompson, RD, LDN
If the daily grind has you down, it might be time to rethink your fuel. Instead of the unhealthy options at hand, power your brain and body with nutrient-filled choices. This change can increase your energy level, balance your mood and provide more stamina for physical activity.
Here are eight ideas to make your office routine healthier:
1) Start with Breakfast
How you start the day sets the tone for the entire day. Start by fueling up with whole grains, protein and fresh fruit. Even a breakfast on the run can be a good one: try peanut butter on toast, a smoothie made with fruit and low-fat milk or yogurt, or a nutrient-rich granola bar (one that is low in added sugar, and rich in fiber and protein).
Rich in “good” fats and fiber, these luscious green fruits are satisfying and healthy. Bring the fiesta desk-side with a quick guacamole. Mash ½ of an avocado with a squeeze of lime juice and eat it with a few whole-grain corn chips. Sprinkle the other half of the cut avocado with lime juice and wrap in plastic wrap to save it for up 3 to days. Use the other half to snack on with whole grain crackers, or layer a few slices in between a lean turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.
Add a little crunch to your afternoon routine. Easily packable and filled with protein, nuts are great on their own or in trail mixes or nut butters when served with crackers or fruit.
Full of antioxidants, these bursts of blue goodness can be eaten fresh in handfuls or purchased dried. I like to add dried blueberries to a trail mix made with nuts.
Lean protein sources such as chickpeas — the main ingredient in hummus — add a burst of B vitamins, protein and fiber. Have a snack of hummus with whole-grain crackers or raw vegetables.
Check your water intake throughout the day to make sure that you are getting at least six to eight cups of fluid each day. Also, pay attention to your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine later in the day may interrupt your sleep patterns and energy levels.
This dairy product may boost immunity and aide in digestion. Greek yogurt has more protein than traditional yogurt.
This spice can help regulate blood sugar to minimize mid-morning energy crashes. Sprinkle a dash in your coffee or add a teaspoon to your oatmeal or afternoon yogurt.
…and One Bonus Tip
This isn’t about food, but it’s still important advice for office health: Stand up and walk. Whether you take the stairs, walk to lunch instead of drive, or take a lap around your building, getting up from your desk can clear your head and add steps to your daily count.
You spend 40 hours a week and more than 2,000 hours a year at work. Take the time to consider your health (and your resulting productivity) while you are there. Your body — and your boss — will thank you.
Originally published at foodandnutrition.org