Wellness Catering Solutions

Why Healthy Meals For Work Help To Increase Productivity

The lunch break. A time-honoured tradition of between 30 minutes and an hour to rest and unwind from a stressful morning. But it can also be a time to help get you ready for the rest of the day. And this can all be down to the food you’re eating. If your lunch is a classic meal deal sandwich and a packet of crisps, you may find yourself fatigued as you crawl towards the end of the day. This is because your body isn’t being provided with the right nutrients and energy. A healthy, nutritional meal at lunchtime can help give you the energy you need to power through and have a productive afternoon.

So why can a healthy meal benefit you for the rest of the day? Read on to find out how.

Benefits of a Healthy Prepared Meal

Good Energy

Eating well is a healthy way to increase your energy levels, ready to tackle the rest of the day ahead. A good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat provide calories to fuel your body. Carbohydrates are the best way if you need an instant boost, as they can easily be converted to glucose. Think of eating beans and legumes, vegetables and potatoes for a good burst. Eating protein along with carbs helps to slow down the rate your body absorbs them, meaning the energy is released slower but will benefit you longer, ideal for if you have a long afternoon ahead and nothing else to fuel you through it.

Dopamine

Dopamine is a chemical found naturally in the human body that acts as a neurotransmitter, sending messages along nerve cells. It plays a big role in our bodies’ well-being, both physically and mentally. When it is released in large amounts, it creates a feeling of pleasure, while low levels are linked to reduced motivation. Eating a good healthy meal has been linked to releasing more dopamine and endorphins in your body, leading to an increased mood which in term leads to increased productivity.

While all meals release some level of dopamine, delicious and appealing looking food is more likely to produce higher levels. That’s why you should always have a healthy, delicious lunch compared to a plain sandwich from the local corner shop. Without dopamine and endorphins flooding your system you’ll start to suffer from low mood and energy levels, not being able to think clearly and feeling sluggish. All of these are not beneficial to a productive workplace environment.

Don’t forget the drink

It’s easy to overlook when thinking about your lunch, but your drink has just as many benefits as whatever you choose to eat. Many soft drinks are high in sugar, which will give you a quick burst of energy but won’t help in the long term. To stay healthy you should drink plenty of liquids, especially water. It is recommended to drink about 6 to 8 cups of fluid per day.

Juices or smoothies contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and can count as one of your five a day, but also can contain a lot of sugar. So make sure if you’re treating yourself to a smoothie or juice at lunchtime, limit it to just the one. Milk is a good source of calcium to help maintain healthy bones. Semi-skimmed or skimmed milk can be a healthier choice while you need to be wary of milkshakes, flavoured milk and malt drinks, as these contain added sugars.

A caffeinated drink such as tea and coffee will provide you with a temporary burst of energy. They can be drunk as part of a healthy diet but be careful of sugar or flavoured syrups being added as they can quickly make your lunchtime cuppa an unhealthy option. The healthiest option for lunchtime is to drink water! Water helps keep you hydrated, which can prevent fatigue, concentration, your memory and reduced motivation. It can help with headaches, so if you already suffer after staring at a screen all day, water is the best solution to relieving this at lunchtime before a few more hours at the computer.

Helpful Nutrients to Look Out for

When browsing for a healthy meal to have for your lunch, you should consider what different nutrients can do for you, and tailor your food to suit them. Here are a few nutrients that will help you increase your productivity:

  • Choline – Choline is a nutrient that can help improve memory, liver, muscle and mental function. It’s also said to improve reaction time and concentration by boosting the functioning of neurons, making it ideal for work to get you through the afternoon! Good sources of choline include eggs, liver, salmon, cauliflower and broccoli. Plenty of delicious ingredients to base a meal around!
  • Phenylalanine – Phenylalanine is an amino acid that has a plethora of health benefits. It is used for depression, ADHD, chronic pain, vitiligo and more. It does this by stimulating the brain to produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as dopamine. To get more phenylalanine in your diet, make sure you eat lots of meat, fish, eggs, cheese and milk.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium is crucial to the body’s function. It helps keep bones strong, blood pressure normal and the heart beating steadily. It has a relaxing effect on muscles and has been linked to a reduction in anxiety. Therefore having magnesium present in a healthy lunch will lead to you feeling less stressed at work and could soothe any back problems caused by sitting in a chair all day. If you’re looking for food with good sources of magnesium look to incorporate nuts, seeds, beans, leafy vegetables, milk and yoghurt.

Disadvantages of an Unhealthy Meal

Bad Energy

If you’re thinking of treating yourself to some fast food for lunch, it probably isn’t the best idea. That’s because fried and fast food can actually drain your energy. They are high in fat and low in fibre which reduces the speed of your digestion. Slow digestion can reduce the speed at which potential energy boosts enter the body. Often low in minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients, fast food also has little to no nutritional value. Similarly, low-calorie snacks won’t be a nutritionally beneficial option and they usually result in a calorie deficit for the rest of the day, further sapping your energy levels.

While there is no denying that an energy drink will provide you with a short-term energy boost, the long term effects are that once this energy reaches a point, it will drop sharply, causing you to feel more tired than when you started drinking. They also have high amounts of caffeine, which can cause anxiety, jitteriness and heart palpitations.

Overeating

Your body can only handle ingesting too much food. If your lunch is too large, you’ll start to feel lethargic and sluggish for the rest of the day. Overeating can expand your stomach, making you feel uncomfortable and overworking your metabolism as it works to burn off the extra calories. Lunch should be enough to supply you with all the energy and nutrients to get you through the day while avoiding overindulgence.

Health Problems

In addition to not helping in the short term, having an unhealthy lunch can lead to more long term problems. Poor nutrition is linked to many diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Food with a lot of fat and sugar can clog the arteries or lead to type-2 diabetes. Not getting enough vitamins or calcium can leave you more vulnerable to viruses and with weakened bones.

Pow Food – Nutritious, Dairy and Gluten-Free Ready Meals

POW Food is an award-winning catering service that specialises in supplying the best quality, nutritionally balanced lunch to corporate clients. Each of our dishes is handcrafted by chefs using ingredients that don’t focus on calories, but instead lock in flavours and do not compromise on quality. You’ll find meals that are predominantly gluten and dairy-free, while high in fibre and protein and supplying slow-burn carbohydrates to power you through the day.

We offer a range of services, from catering for your office to healthy home delivery. We’re focusing on powering wellness, so we can even help out by supplying remote workers who might feel themselves disconnected from the workplace. Our preparation and delivery team are fully trained and compliant with the latest COVID-19 government guidelines, delivering your food safely, securely and as quickly as possible to your London office and across the country. We want you and your workers to feel as productive as possible, so call us on 0345 340 5397 to see what our range of impact-driven meals can do to improve mental and physical performance.

We are a company you can trust for your catering, with our list of high profile clients all extremely happy with our exceptional services. Build team spirit by providing your workers with a chance to switch off from work and relax with a good quality, delicious meal. You’ll find your workers start their afternoon recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the day! So contact us via our website to explore our full range of healthy ready meals, soups and snacks.

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