Written by Kelly Gomez, MS, RDN, LD
It’s no secret that businessmen and women are some of the busiest individuals out there. So much demands our time and attention that it’s easy to begin neglecting our basic needs, like eating. As a dietitian working in the corporate space, I see this narrative unfold time and time again. The busyness of life and work demands make it easy, and almost necessary (in your mind), to skip meals or snacks “when you have time.” But let me tell you this; it’s hurting you. It’s hurting your ability to perform at your highest level. It’s affecting your energy levels, ability to think, and mood.
One of the most important things we can do for our body in the morning is to fuel it. Now, I’m not saying you need to have a 5-star breakfast in the morning with your kids and partner all sitting at the table for an hour because let’s be honest, that is a Saturday morning occasional occurrence or otherwise a myth that Hallmark and Disney Channel sold us long ago.
Eating breakfast in the morning may not sound exciting, particularly if you wake up “not hungry.” Your body adapts to its environment over time, so it’s likely that by not eating in the morning, your body has gotten used to it, and you no longer receive those hunger cues. But if your body can adapt this way, it can certainly adapt on the opposite spectrum. Once you incorporate breakfast into your daily routine again, you will find that when you wake up, your stomach may be growling once your feet hit the floor!
Scientific studies have suggested that having a healthy breakfast is related to a greater intake of nutrients throughout the day and a better quality diet as a whole. It has been associated with better body weight control in children and adults and, more importantly, healthy cardiometabolic risk indicators. And it’s been related to attention and cognitive function improvements in all age groups (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30351152/)!
Outside of eating breakfast, we know that eating enough throughout the day is a huge piece of the puzzle. Whether you are an active individual or not, consuming adequate amounts of calories in the most basic sense is going to fuel the organs in your body that make it possible for you to live and breathe. If we add to that general movement, like walking around the house, taking your kids to school, etc., plus any intentional exercise, energy needs are significantly increased. Depending on their size, age, and activity level, Toddlers need anywhere from 1,000-1,400 calories per day. Think how much more a grown adult needs! It can be hard to get over 1500 calories if we are not eating consistently and skipping meals.
One way to bulk up our diet is through snacks! When it comes to snacking, it’s important to pair foods together that are going to lead to prolonged satiety and better affect your energy levels. This typically looks like pairing a protein and fat with a carbohydrate. Some examples of this would be an apple + string cheese, veggies with hummus, jerky + crackers, etc. When you optimize the nutritional value of your snacks, you will find yourself reaching for candy and sweets less often, feeling full for longer, and having more energy to do your work efficiently.
Take time to evaluate the snacks and meals you have on a daily basis. What do they consist of? How often are you eating? Why do you find yourself snacking throughout the day? Answering these questions will help you in your health and wellness journey to becoming your best self. Working with a registered dietitian is particularly helpful in evaluating the “why” behind your habits and working toward a better health goal.