Working in dentistry can be difficult, and especially when it comes to lunchtime. Common wisdom dictates that we shouldn’t be doing anything on an empty stomach. People take this to mean that as you eat something during the day, you are basically good to go. Unfortunately, that’s not how our bodies actually operate, and especially with workplace nutrition.
Obviously, ingesting food is necessary for our survival, but there is a big difference between simply tarrying along day-after-day, and using our time productively. In order for our bodies to perform efficiently, we need to consume the right kind food, in the right amount, and at the right time of day. And nowhere is this more important than during working hours.
Without proper workplace nutrition, our workday becomes a roller-coaster of mood swings, productivity dips, and attention slips. In order to keep thing on track, a conscious effort has to be made to change our dietary habits. But before starting to reinvent the way we eat at work, it would be useful to examine this ever-day practice in a bit more detail.
Let’s have the bad news first. Soft drinks and fast-food are both staples of a workplace diet, and they are probably the worst things you can eat if you want to stay focused and productive. Burgers, fries, topping-heavy pizzas, etc. have very few essential nutrients for daily functioning, while being loaded with saturated fats, sugar and salt. This makes them harder to digest, which in turn forces the body to devote more time and energy to food absorption, leaving us feeling groggy and unmotivated for work.
Skipping meals is another workplace concern. Our bodies run on energy supplied by blood in the form of glucose. When our blood-sugar level drops, our brain is not getting enough nutrients to work properly, so we tend to become unfocused. Needless to say, it is very hard to stay productive throughout the workday if we can’t keep our attention on the tasks at hand.
An improper diet can also disturb our circadian rhythms. These are the daily bodily cycles which determine the optimal time for eating, sleeping, being alert, etc. So if we have a habit of eating at inopportune moments during the day, our internal clocks will start to desync. This will eventually leave us feeling tired throughout the day, unable to do any serious work.
In addition to the aforementioned problems, a poor diet will inevitably lead to the development of numerous other health-related issues, reducing the overall quality of life. This should be reason enough to consider changing your dietary habits.
Now that we know what to avoid when it comes to workplace dietary habits, we can move on to suggestions on how to improve them. The best place to start is with adjusting essential nutrient intake. The body needs a balanced mix of proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre, all adjusted for appropriate calorie intake.
Preparing a full meal with all the required nutrients is often impractical in a workplace environment, but it is still possible to get most of what your body needs with a little bit of creativity.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, its time to implement these ideas into practice. This is often easier said than done. But there are a number of ways to nudge people along towards adopting a healthier workplace diet.
It’s not always easy to maintain a healthy diet when you’re busy at the dental office. However, taking small steps toward bettering your eating habits will certainly pay off in the end.
Check out 3 more ways, besides nutrition, that you can increase your productivity!
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