5 Foods You Should Eat to Massively Increase Productivity

Alyssa Atkinson

Research says to eat these when you hit a slump.


Photo by Tetiana Bykovets on Unsplash

You get up at 6 AM sharp feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. But by the time 12 pm hits, after putting in hours upon hours of hard work, the mental fatigue begins to set in.

I think this is a feeling we all know too well, and one we wish we could avoid all together. If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried everything in the book — the afternoon cup of coffee, the frequent breaks, and of course, the carefully curated schedule.

I’ll be the first to say that the strategies mentioned above do work for me. But there is one key method that I left out, and it’s a phenomenal one that’s often overlooked. It’s called the afternoon snack.

Now, you might be thinking that food couldn’t possibly help with productivity. That’s actually not true. However strong your skepticism may be, I urge you to give the afternoon snack another chance, because there are actually some specific ones proven to increase productivity. Here are five that you need to try.

1. The Following Antioxidant Rich Fruit

The first item that makes the list of productivity boosting foods is a simple, tasty berry — the blueberry. As it turns out, research has linked blueberries to improved cognitive abilities.

According to the University of Reading,

Researchers observed schoolchildren’s memory and attention-spans after the consumption of flavonoid-rich blueberry supplements. Results showed that by consuming our favorite berries, the children displayed significant cognitive improvements, especially when being asked to complete a task.”

Unsurprisingly, one of my favorite afternoon snacks is a fruit smoothie. It’s simple, easy to make, and tastes delicious. Try a simple vegan blueberry banana nice cream to sneak your blueberries in with ease.

Then, when you hit that difficult afternoon work slump, the blueberries will not only give you extra energy, but also a cognitive boost, which will help you push through the rest of the day and stay productive.

2. Dark Chocolate

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth and can’t go a day without chocolate, this snack is for you.

You’ll be happy to learn that dark chocolate actually has antioxidant properties which “increase the production of endorphins while enhancing focus and concentration.”

Although a candy bar with a ton of added sugar will likely make you crash and feel sluggish for the rest of the afternoon, a few squares of dark chocolate will have the opposite effect.

Thus, if you feel your motivation fading in the afternoon, try using a chocolatey pick-me-up to re-focus and increase your productivity in the second half of your work day. Just make sure to choose a dark chocolate bar that is low in added sugar.

3. This Healthy Carbohydrate Source

I’m sure you’ve heard countless times that carbohydrates are bad for you. And while everyone has a unique style of eating that works for them, carbohydrates are certainly not inherently bad.

However, they also are not all created equal. That’s why you want to shoot for eating whole grain carbohydrate sources.

In fact, according to Lisa Moskovitz, RD, and founder of The NY Nutrition Group, whole grains do an amazing job of:

“providing you with B vitamins like folate, which boosts blood flow to the brain….whole grains also provide you with B12, a true focus-boosting fuel.”

Instead of swearing off carbs all together, focus on consuming whole grain sources that will give your brain a boost for optimal productivity.

I love making snacks that use whole grain oats and mostly unrefined sugar, like some apple cinnamon muffins or homemade chewy granola bars packed with peanut butter, oats, and chocolate chips. They are the perfect make-ahead snacks to have ready to grab when hunger strikes. That way, you can stay full and focused for the rest of the work day.

4. Avocados

As it turns out, this plant-based source of healthy fat does more than just provide richness and flavor.

According to research published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal,

“Consumption of the same kind of monounsaturated fatty acids that avocados are high in aids in the protection of brain cells called astrocytes. These brain cells offer support to information carrying nerves meaning they contribute to a healthy blood flow.”

Thus, the avocado is the perfect plant-based snack to consume during that mid-afternoon slump when you need a productivity boost.

Try toasting some whole wheat bread and spreading on a generous layer of avocado for an easy afternoon snack. And while you’re at it, sprinkle on some nutritional yeast seasoning for additional vitamin B12 to increase your productivity even more.

5. This Budget Friendly Food

If you’re looking for an incredibly inexpensive option to boost productivity, the banana is your best bet. In fact, a single banana contains the daily amount of glucose your brain needs.

Furthermore, Business Insider states that:

“The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream — about the amount found in a banana.”

Therefore, by consuming a single banana, you can optimize the functioning of your brain to increase your energy and overall productivity.

I love having my banana with a generous spoonful of natural peanut butter for a super satisfying snack. It’s the perfect combination of carbs, protein, and fat. If you haven’t tried it yet, you definitely need to.

Final Thoughts

The foods you choose to put into your body will play an important role in all aspects of your life, including your work and energy levels overall.Therefore, you must choose wisely.

When I find myself relying too heavily on convenience foods, like highly processed, packaged snacks, I make an effort to swap them out for fresher, healthier, homemade versions. Doing so makes me feel more energetic and helps me get a lot more work accomplished each day.

If you also have become too dependent on packaged snacks, try to plan ahead and stock your refrigerator with healthy foods like fresh berries and whole grains. In the end, your mind and body will thank you.

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Ohio U XC/Track alum. I love to run. I blog about food, health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Personal Blog - nomeatfastfeet.com | Electrical and Computer Engineering Grad.

Raleigh, NC

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