Plan a healthy mid-afternoon snack to keep you going until your evening meal
To avoid feeling hungry on the way home from work and stopping off to buy some chocolate or crisps, pick up a healthy snack at lunchtime and plan to eat it either late afternoon or on your way home.
If you are in the office, eat a couple of oatcakes with some hummus or a natural yogurt with fresh berries. This will give you the energy boost for the commute home.
Or try a small bag of nuts or a banana to eat in the car or on the train!
Try taking the stairs at work rather than the lift
Regular daily exercise will gently increase your heart rate and ensure that the blood is pumping around your system more effectively, which will, in turn, help you feel more energised. A 15-minute walk at lunchtime will refresh your lungs, help to reduce stress levels and burn up to 75 calories.
So, lots of reasons to venture outdoors at lunchtime.
Try to drink fluids before rather than during lunch to maximise digestion
Digestion starts in the mouth where starches such as carbohydrates are broken down by enzymes. This complex process is made more difficult with the presence of excess fluid which may dilute these enzymes and thus make them less effective. As a result, undigested foods particles may hit the stomach and small intestine causing cramps and pain.
So, to maximise digestion, leave at least 10 minutes after drinking any fluids before starting your lunch and avoid drinking with lunch.
Try to ensure that you have a healthy start to the day
Breakfast is essential as it supplies you with the fuel to help maintain energy levels and set your metabolism up for the day ahead.
A breakfast containing slow release carbohydrates and lean protein is the ideal choice, for example: • Porridge with a teaspoon of seeds and a handful of berries • 2 boiled or poached eggs with 1 piece of wholegrain toast or 2 oat cakes • Plain organic yogurt with seeds and berries as above
Follow this up with a healthy mid-morning snack and lunch and your energy levels will be at their peak all day!!
Take a break from your desk for a few minutes each hour
It is important to give your brain a rest at regular intervals in the day so it can recharge ready for the next challenge.
So, make a point of getting up from your desk and walking around the office or going to the drinks machine to give your mind a different focus for a few minutes.
This is especially important after a meal, as a gentle walk about 15 minutes after eating will help the digestive system to process food effectively.
Do this on a regular basis to maximise your daily performance.
How to keep stress at bay during your working day
Stress in our lives today is almost continuous, and its effect on the body can be very extreme if it isn’t controlled. Symptoms of stress overload include rapid weight gain, anxiety, irritability and low mood.
So follow these 3 rules to help minimise the effect on your system:
Hydration: Drink water regularly during the day. Regular fluid intake will keep the body calm and able to deal more effectively with stress.
Relaxation: Go outdoors at lunchtime. A 15-minute walk helps you to relax thereby allowing the stress hormones that have built up during the morning to be released out of the body.
Balance: Eat a healthy lunch and regular snacks to guarantee a constant flow of energy throughout the day which will help keep the body stress free. Caffeine and sugary foods such as chocolate can have the opposite effect so try to avoid or minimise these in the diet.
Going to the gym later ? Make the right lunchtime choice.
If you plan to do exercise after work your body will require even more nutrients to support you. Lunch plays an important role as it can provide the energy not just for the afternoon but also into the early evening.
So make sure it contains: • Wholemeal bread, pasta or rice • Lean protein such as chicken, tuna, egg, ham or pulses • Salad vegetables such as rocket, watercress, spinach and beetroot
An additional snack at 4pm such as a couple of oatcakes with a small piece of cheese or a yogurt with a handful of nuts will further guarantee that you are getting sufficient nutrients to maximise your workout.
Find it hard to remember to drink water ? Drink a glass or 2 with your daily cuppa
Caffeine can disrupt blood sugar levels in the body, causing ‘highs’ followed by a slump which inevitably leads to rapid drops in energy and concentration.
It takes about 4 glasses of water to fully dilute the effect of the caffeine from 1 cup of coffee.
So the more water you drink alongside the caffeine, the least disruptive it will be to your system.
Eat an egg for lunch to help maintain your concentration levels into the afternoon
Eggs contain the Vitamin Choline which helps to keep the brain and especially the memory sharp.
They are also a lean form of protein which, when boiled, poached or scrambled, make an excellent companion for slow release wholegrain carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread.
The fat in eggs is low in saturates and so counts as ‘good fat’ and, although they contain cholesterol, if eaten in moderation (4-6 per week) can form an important part of a balanced diet.
Plan a healthy mid afternoon snack to keep you going until your evening meal
To avoid feeling hungry on the way home from work and maybe stopping off for a chocolate bar, take a healthy snack to work with you or pick up one up as part of your lunch to keep until later in the day.
An apple or banana with a small handful of nuts will give you an energy boost if eaten late afternoon. Or try a plain yogurt with fresh blueberries to keep you energies balanced until your evening meal.