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Eating for Mental Performance

Oct 31, 2018

As life gets busy, eating well can easily take a back-seat when there’s tight deadlines and a million other things to do! But when you’re busy, stressed and time-poor, it’s even more important to eat well to get the most out of your day.

Food is fuel for our bodies and our brain, so if you want to maximise your mental performance and get even more productive, try implementing my Top 5 Tips for Mental Performance today!

1. Choose low GI, whole grains (avoiding white)

Choosing lower GI carbohydrate sources such a whole-grain bread and cereals, brown rice, legumes etc. slows the release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream and your brain. This avoids those sugar highs and lows, instead drip-feeding the release of fuel to your brain so you can focus better, with more clarity for longer.

2. Include oily fish at least 3 x per week

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel are a great source of omega-3 fats which are critical for brain function and development. Don’t like fish? Try taking a daily fish oil supplement to enhance your memory, learning and brain cell communication. Easy.

3. Meal prep a protein-rich lunch

Spend 30mins on the weekend setting your week up for success with a batch cooked lunch. Choose a lean protein source such as red meat, chicken, fish, eggs or tofu and serve with salad or veggies. Keeping carbohydrate to a minimum at lunch will help you stay awake for the afternoon and prevent 3:30-itis.

4. Caffeinate with strategy

Coffee or what we like to call ‘Productivity Juice’ is the worlds most socially acceptable stimulant. But too much can have negative effects. Excessive caffeine consumption can reduce your ability to focus on the one task, irritability, heart palpitations, hormone imbalances and insomnia. If you’re a caffeine lover, aim to stick to a maximum of 2-3 x espresso shots/day. If you’re currently having double (or triple) this, work your way slowly back down by decreasing a shot a week until you’re back within an acceptable limit.

5. Avoid junk food

It’s the high sugar load in junk food that will give you a quick pick-me-up (read: rapid rise in blood sugar), but then a massive crash 20-30minutes later. If you want to maximise your brainpower, don’t eat junk when you’re trying to be productive. Pick yourself up with a quick walk around the block during a phone call instead to pump blood to your brain. Remember we want brain fuel drip-fed throughout the day, not big spikes and crashes.

Take home message

Spend a little time on food preparation and organisation for the week to set yourself up for success. It only takes an hour or two on your “day off” but can save you many more hours during the chaos of the week. Try scheduling 1-2 hours in your calendar for planning, shopping and meal prep each week and set this to repeat. It doesn’t matter what day, as long as it’s there and it works for you. This will set your whole week up for success so you don’t have to think about what to eat, you just grab and run and keep your brain firing on all cylinders.

If you don't have the time for Menu Planning or simply hate doing it, don't stress, I've done it for you! Check out my Weekly Menu Planning Service HERE to save yourself at least 2 hours each week!

Taryn

 


Tags: brain performance, mental performance, nutrition for mental performance, Brisbane Dietitian, Brisbane Sports Dietitian, caffeine, Dietitian Brisbane, eating for entrepreneurs, healthy eating, mental edge, mental health, mental performance, nutrition for the brain, productivity, Sports Dietitian, Sports Dietitian Australia, Meal Planning, Get Organised

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