It’s no secret; a nutrient-packed diet is essential for both a healthy body and mind: it curbs the appetite and helps to promote concentration. Nevertheless, a balanced diet can all too easily be thrown out the window when phones are ringing off the hook, it’s already 3pm – what! – and there are still thirty-five email responses to frantically tap out.
But the facts may be worth muting the phone for. According to the NHS, adults working full time consume at least a third of their daily calorie allowance during their working day. So it seems it’s just as important to instil healthy habits at work, as it is the kitchen table.
Luckily, Zoe Watkins, co-founder of healthy food cafe Livewire Kitchen based at Vox Studios, is on hand with some expert tips to help you tame bad habits and reach for the right foods throughout the week.
1) Zoe recommends starting the day with a protein-filled breakfast to give you the fuel needed to kick-start the day. Eggs are a good ‘go-to’ option. Set them to boil before hopping in the shower, and then either serve with toast or take them to work. “Eggs are a fantastic source of high quality protein which will help to keep you fuller for longer,” says Zoe.
2) With your morning coffee or tea, try mixing it up. Replace traditional cow’s milk with coconut or oat milk for an extra energy boost. “The types of fat in coconut milk (medium chain saturated fatty acids – MCFA’s) work fast in your system and produce energy faster, as well as harbouring antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties,” says Zoe. “What’s more, it's very versatile. Just try a coconut milk flat white!”
3) Or, for something really different, add a spoonful of peanut butter to your bowl of porridge. “The oats and nuts working together provide prolonged energy,” says Zoe.
4) Grab a filling breakfast smoothie with milk (or a milk alternative), oats, berries and crushed seeds. The high level of protein and fibre in oats give sustained energy, and the fruit will keep your Vitamin C levels topped up.
1) Opt for a grain-based salad with chicken and avocado, or a vegetarian option like lentil or bean-based soup with wholegrain bread. Resist the temptation of white foods teamed with a sugary snack and a soft drink. These can cause blood sugar imbalances, and foods rich in unhealthy fats can leave you feeling lethargic as your body digests them.
2) Aim to pick up something colourful. “The more of the rainbow spectrum you eat, the more nutrients and benefits you are getting, and the deeper and darker the colour the better,” says Zoe. Try adding radicchio (deep-red leafed chicory) to salad for colon-cleansing benefits.
3) If you’re looking to enhance brain function, add oily fish and broccoli to your lunch menu. “The omega oils found in sardines, for example, are amazing for the brain,” says Zoe, “as are cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower. If it looks like a brain, (more often than not) it'll be good for your brain, too!"
Stay hydrated to avoid feeling foggy and unfocused. Try “spicing up” water with cucumber, strawberries, basil, mint, rosemary or citrus fruits.
For more inspiration, head over to livewirekitchen.co.uk.
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