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Productivity & Lifestyle

Why Your Lunch Choice is the Real Deal-Maker; From Science

Nicki Empson

18 June 2018

Are you interested in maintaining your energy throughout the workday? Then, you must choose your lunch wisely! Read more about what lunch options are easy and energizing. 

Pt. 2 in our 3 part series 'From Science'


'Adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20% on average' says a report released in 2005 by The International Labour Organisation. In this article, we are going to look at the cause of this is. We are going to delve into what happens in the brain after a large, fatty and carbohydrate-dense (yes, often yummy too) lunch versus what happens after a balanced and healthy lunch. We can guarantee you, you will never nip out for a quick takeaway burger and chips for lunch again. Although Dr. Seuss may have got many things right, one he did not: 'you’ve got a brain in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!'; no, no you can't, Dr. Seuss. If you want to do anything with your afternoon, you cannot steer yourself in the direction of the big golden arches of McDonald's. Read on to learn why you should steer yourself in the direction of a healthy, well-portioned lunch if you want to make the most of your afternoons.


You're back at your ´personal desk after a delicious large burger (with extra cheese and bacon, obviously) and a side of fries. You were feeling great 20 minutes ago; you had boundless energy, your brain was alert, and you were feeling prepared for your post-lunch meeting in 10 minutes. All was good. But, why does the sofa on the other side of the office now look oh so comfy? You're crashing, your eyes are heavy, your brain is blurry. Why does this happen (because let's be honest, we have all been there)?

Two words: glucose levels. Glucose provides our brains with fuel. Foods like burgers, fries, bacon, desserts, white pasta, white bread, cereals, cookies and white potatoes (also known as high GI foods), release all their glucose very quickly into our bloodstream. After eating these types of food, you will feel alert and energetic (a bit like you were 20 minutes ago) and then 20 minutes later, you will have no glucose left in your bloodstream, the foods have no more glucose left release and you will be left feeling as you are now: ready to sleep on your office sofa. 


You're back at your desk after a delicious meal of salmon, quinoa and avocado (with extra avocado and a drizzle of lemon and olive oil for taste). You feel recharged, your brain is clear, you feel focused and you're running through your agenda for your meeting in 10 minutes. Why you think, do I feel so damn good?

Because salmon, quinoa, and avocado are all low GI foods; they release glucose into your bloodstream slowly and steadily, leaving your brain alert and focused for many hours, rather than for a mere 20 minutes. In fact, our brains work best when there is about 25g of glucose in our bloodstream in any one moment. The best way to maintain this optimum level is by eating low GI foods that regulate this level for us with their slow release rate. The food with the lowest GI? Soy!

3 TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE BETTER CHOICES AT LUNCH (because we know it can hard sometimes)

1. Keep healthy options in sight, make them easily accessible and hide the cookies at the back of the cupboard. 

Why? Because we are 3 times more likely to eat the first thing we see that the fifth thing. Brian Wansink, professor of Nutritional Science at Cornell University in New York, carried out an experiment to find out whether how our food is displayed in our kitchens has an effect on our food choices. His experiment found that what we see first has a huge effect on what and how much we consume. That is why, here at OneCoWork, we make sure all our food caterers offer a wide variety of healthy options throughout the day for whenever your munchies may kick in.

2. Have little and healthy snacks throughout the morning so as not to let yourself get too hungry leading up to lunchtime

Why? Because the brain needs very specifically portioned amounts of food to function at its best, approximately the amount of 1 banana. Allowing yourself to become a ravenous animal and then inhaling 3 plates of food is a sure way to bring on an afternoon crash. Give your brain little doses of sustained energy throughout the day. At OneCoWork, we take snacks seriously. So seriously that we hold snack tasting sessions for our Members to make sure that all the snacks sold in our spaces pass their 'that-is-so-delicious' test and their 'I-need-something-healthy' test before signing the food provider up!

3. Remind yourself of this simple fact: what you eat will also determine the productivity of your grandchildren.

Why? Because it's true, and the guilt of inflicting your poor grandchildren with unproductive genes should be enough to help you choose the healthy, productivity-boosting lunch option instead!


There you have it, told by science why what you choose to eat for lunch is the real deal-maker. Despite all your best intentions, if you fill up on sugary and processed foods at lunch, your office sofa will always start summoning you to join it for a little siesta. Remove yourself from temptations by fuelling yourself with healthy, high GI foods at lunchtime.

To choose from a selection of delicious, healthy and perfectly portioned lunches, head to our kitchen every lunchtime, Monday-Friday. Or, speak to one of our Community Managers to find out exactly which lunch delivery company comes on which days, at which times and to request a copy of their menu. Bon appetit!

To read more about nutrition, healthy eating and the importance of it, head over to our article summarizing last week's Roundtable Talk by the girls from The Healthiest Choice to learn more about good nutrition at work. It was great!

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