Let’s face it, ladies: no one wants to get hangry at work — and long workdays are only made worse by sugar crashes. So a working woman’s gotta eat smart during the workday! But what are the best foods to maintain your energy during a long day at work? Which are YOUR favorites to keep your mind and body fueled properly?
Good strategies to follow for maintaining your energy at work are eating frequently (no skipping meals!) to keep your blood sugar at the proper level, choosing protein-rich foods and complex carbohydrates, and drinking enough water. Wise choices include nuts and nut butters, eggs, yogurt, oatmeal and other whole grains, fruits and veggies, and high-protein salads. In general below, we’ll focus on choices that are healthier than grabbing some chips from the vending machine or chocolate from the communal candy jar; eating a lot of fat and/or sugar will actually make you more tired in the long run — but if you have any high-energy favorites from the vending machine or local bodega, we’d love to hear em!
Good Choices for Energy Foods at Breakfast
- Oatmeal: Steel-cut or otherwise — readers recommended Kashi and Nature’s Path brands — perhaps with some berries or other healthy mix-in.
- Peanut butter: On whole wheat or sprouted grain bread, on a bagel, on a multigrain waffle, etc.
- Eggs: On an English muffin, with meat (like ham or sausage), etc.
- Yogurt: Mix in ground flaxseed, honey, fruit, walnuts, granola, etc.
- Smoothies: Add protein to make them more filling — yogurt, kefir, soy milk, protein powder, etc.
- Burritos/wraps: Make them ahead of time and simply freeze and reheat, like this highly-rated recipe or this one.
- Convenience foods: For relatively healthy options, readers suggested cereal (e.g., Kashi, Total, Fiber One), Clif bars, Luna bars, etc. (These can even take the place of some of the other meal ideas listed if you’re crunched for time in the mornings; I can personally vouch for the egg/spinach/cheese breakfast sandwich from Special K, as well as the frozen burritos from Amy’s Kitchen.)
- Yesterday’s leftovers: YMMV, based on what you usually eat for dinner, of course!
Good Choices for Energy Foods at Lunch
- High-protein salads: Be careful, though; dressings with a lot of fat or sugar can make you feel sluggish later. Bean salads are an excellent option here.
- Sandwiches: Readers suggested combinations like apple and cheese, peanut butter and banana, and turkey with hummus and spinach.
- Takeout options: Panini or Bistro Boxes from Starbucks, sushi, healthy soup, etc.
- Yesterday’s leftovers: Again, YMMV.
Good Choices for Energy Foods for Snacks/Mini-Meals
- Dairy: Yogurt (Greek or otherwise); cottage cheese, Laughing Cow cheese, string cheese.
- Packaged bars: Kashi, SoyJoy, Atkins, Odwalla, Special K.
- Fruit and veggies: Apples, bananas, oranges, berries, grapes, dried cherries, baby carrots (with or without hummus).
- Nuts and nut butters: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans; try peanut butter on whole wheat toast/bread, rice cakes, pretzels, bananas, or apples.
- Other: Popcorn, oatmeal, trail mix, tea (green, English Breakfast, Moroccan mint).
- Feast On These High-Energy Foods [Prevention]
- Food and Mood: 6 Ways Your Diet Affects How You Feel [U.S. News & World Report]
- 21 Healthy and Portable Energy-Boosting Snacks [Greatist]
- Eat Your Way to a High-Energy Workday [Lifehacker]
Ladies, let’s hear from you — which energy foods seem to help you get through a busy workday without crashing? What do you eat on a typical workday, and what do you do about dinner when you have to work really late?