Career Center

Share Now

Berries or Burger: What you eat impacts your productivity at work

How often do you wind up ordering a burger and fries for lunch at work? And if you had to be honest, after indulging yourself, how much work did you actually get done?

On a daily basis, most of us don’t make the best decisions about our diet. Especially if we’re low on energy and self-control when we’re deciding what to eat. When you’re feeling mentally drained, you’ll always crave comfort food. Junk food is also cheaper and more easily available than healthy alternatives. But for the money and time you save, you’ll be compromising on your efficiency for the rest of the day.

And that’s not all you’ll be risking. A recent report by SOCSO reveals that over 50% of Malaysia’s workforce is highly susceptible to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits have been cited as the main cause for the increase in disease. Which is why it’s imperative that you start watching what you eat today.

How food impacts efficiency

What we eat is broken down to glucose, which keeps our brain awake and alert. Some foods release glucose quickly; others do it slower but sustain longer. A slice of cake, for instance, will release glucose into the blood very quickly. But after a short burst of alertness, the glucose level will drop rapidly, and leave you unfocused. On the other hand, fruits, which are lower on the glycaemic index, release glucose in the body at a slower pace. This ensures the body’s glucose level remains steady, allowing you better focus and attention levels.

5 tips to eat healthier at work

While there’s enough science to back the push to eat healthier, it’s not always enough to motivate people to change their habits. Having an action plan to eat healthier is the best way to accomplish it. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  1. Breakfast like a king

Ditch the cereal and opt for a more filling, carbohydrate-rich meal. Even Time magazine has ruled Nasi lemak is one of the world’s healthiest breakfast options. The fattiness of the coconut rice dish is balanced with manganese, protein, and carbs. Noodle soup, rice porridge or Thosai with egg are other good options that will provide a steady source of energy until lunch.

  1. Choose berries over a burger

Did you know a small glass of Teh tarik can set you back 229 calories? Avoid packaged snacks to beat the mid-morning or late afternoon munchies. Filled with sugar, food dye, refined starch, salt and devoid of any nutrition, we’ve already explained why they’re bad for you. Instead, carry nut mixes, granola bars or fruits to fill the hole. Acai and goji berries are excellent anti-oxidants that boost energy and promote mental health.

  1. Eat small, frequent meals

To keep your blood sugar from dipping and to ensure a steady supply of energy to your brain, have small, frequent meals.

  1. Order lunch before hunger strikes

Make all your food decisions before you get hungry. If you’re stepping out of office to eat lunch, choose the restaurant at breakfast. Ordering in? Go through the menus while you’re having your mid-morning snack. We’re only capable of resisting salt, calories, and fat when we’re full.

  1. Don’t eat and work

Multitasking is disastrous for your diet. Instead of half-heartedly munching on a salad while you’re drafting a letter, set aside work and focus completely on your meal. Leave your desk if possible. You’ll find it a more pleasurable experience and return to your desk feeling refreshed.

Remember - if you’re serious about your performance at work, making the right decisions is the first place to start.