1. Come prepared
“It’s best to eat every three to four hours for optimal energy, focus and productivity,” says MacLean. Pack a couple of snacks, like Greek yogurt, fruit, roasted chickpeas, edamame or a small portion of cheese, but snack only when you feel hungry, not just because you’re bored or stressed. “If it’s the latter, take a break, do some stretches or go for a walk.”
2. Leave your desk
You’re more likely to eat extra if you work while you lunch, MacLean says. “It’s easy to eat more than you need when you’re distracted. Instead, take a break and pay attention to your food so you can enjoy it.” A recent University of Toronto study shows lunch breaks that include relaxing activities (like socializing) increase productivity.
3. Order healthy takeout
Strive for balance by including vegetables, grains and protein. “Our brains need carbohydrates for fuel, and protein gives us lasting energy,” MacLean says. Here’s how to do it:
Stir fry: Order less rice, more vegetables and half the sauce. Request brown rice, and choose tofu, chicken or shrimp for your protein.
Sandwich: Choose whole-grain bread and double up on the veggies. Skip deli meats and order grilled or roasted instead. Ask for spreads on the side.
Salad bar: Pick dark, leafy greens and colourful vegetables, then add a grain like barley or quinoa and lean protein like egg, tuna or legumes. Drizzle vinaigrette overtop. Keeners can bring their dressing from home: Make our lemon-tahini dressing or spicy nutty dressing and pack it with you.