Do you ever feel like a firefighter? Running from one crisis to another, trying to save the day…or your event? Well, firefighters need to take care of themselves, and this includes eating right to stay in tip top shape. Proper nutrition helps prepare firefighters to jump into action when needed. And, we all know anyone who plans events is constantly jumping into action!
When we are stressed, we often overeat or skip meals. Statistics show the number of adults who turn to food to reduce stress is nearly equal to those who turn to smoking, alcohol, shopping and gambling combined!
As the owner of a life and leadership firm, I have a demanding schedule. Stressors are coming at me left, right and centre, but my knowledge of health and wellness, including how to eat for maximum impact during stressful times, has helped me tremendously. I want to share some of my nutrition tips with you to help you stay strong and effective during the hectic periods at work.
Top five nutrition tips:
1. Drink more water.
Every day we lose between 2.5 to 3 litres of water. That is a lot of fluid! The interesting thing here is by the time you start to feel thirsty enough to go for a drink; you’re already dehydrated to the point where you are experiencing a 10 per cent mental and physical performance decline. Most people are only operating at 90 per cent of their potential due to dehydration and don’t even realize it.
Tip: Carry a stainless steel water bottle with you wherever you go so you are never at risk of dehydration. Aim for 10-12 glasses of water a day.
2. Boost your memory.
Our ability to remember depends on getting brain cells to make new connections. Cells do this best when they are highly excited. There is one key messenger in the brain that keeps brain cells excited – acetylcholine. This chemical is found in eggs.
Tip: Eat eggs two to three times a week.
3. On the road, snack wisely.
Tip: Eat healthy foods every three hours to keep your energy levels up. This will also prevent overeating at dinner.
4. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
If you decide to grab a quick muffin on the way to work, you will pay the price. Most muffins from fast food restaurants are high in fat and sugar, which will play havoc with your blood sugar levels leading to a tired feeling all day.
Tip: Keep energy levels high by eating something with lean protein and complex carbohydrates. My favourite breakfast is steel cut oatmeal with skim milk and fruit.
5. Eat high energy food during stressful times at work.
Energy boosting foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly those high in vitamin C such as citrus foods (i.e. oranges), peppers and papaya as well as complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes. Foods rich in vitamin B can also help us stay alert and on top of our game. These foods include brown rice, nuts, beans and quinoa.
Tip: If your event has a meal component involved, consider adding these items to your menu to keep your attendees engaged to enjoy the event you’ve worked so hard to put together!
There is so much truth to the saying, “You are what you eat.” If we eat healthy, that is going to help us to go the distance in our careers and our lives outside of work.