Do you have a long day ahead at work? Are you thinking of skipping breakfast or lunch?
If you are among the many who give more importance to your work deadlines than to your eating patterns, it is time you reconsider this habit. You probably have heard this before, but it still remains true that eating healthy and regularly is extremely important to your wellbeing and in fact neglecting this can be detrimental to your health, mind, and body.
If you are looking for ways to increase your productivity and remove that feeling of lethargy, follow these simple tips to boost your energy levels at work as what you include and avoid in your morning routine can set you up success for the rest of your day insha Allah.
• Early Morning: It is important to feed your brain with the right type of food in the morning. Although a cup of coffee would seem to be the most favourable choice for many, try starting your day with a glass of fresh fruit juice. A lemonade, for example, is extremely beneficial early in the morning. It is rich in vitamin C, a wonder vitamin that is of extreme importance to boost your immunity levels (and fight away numerous illnesses).
However, it is necessary to note that having whole fresh fruit is more beneficial than drinking juice. There are more advantages to eating a sweet lime, orange, or apple, or whichever seasonal than grinding the fruit into juice.
a) Fruits have fiber, which is highly effective in flushing toxins out of your body.
b) You will most likely feel fuller eating whole fruit
c) Blending the fruit to a juice could result in a loss of some vitamins
For those looking to lose weight, a glass of lemonade with a dash of honey works wonders on an empty stomach. For those of you who must hang onto their coffee mug, at least make sure you drink adequate amounts of water too because it takes at least four cups of water to flush out the toxins present in coffee.
• Breakfast: As a Productive Muslim, there is no reason for you to ‘not have enough time’ to eat healthy meal. With a little bit of planning, you can have a healthy breakfast loaded with the right type of nutrients. Avoid readymade products as much as you possibly can. When planning or making your breakfast you want to make sure you have a balance of carbohydrates (to give you energy), protein (to keep your muscles and tissues healthy, and give you satiation), and vitamins and minerals to keep your body balanced and healthy. For carbohydrates, you can have fresh fruit, date(s), or bread (opt for brown/whole-wheat bread as it is much healthier; you will be giving your body a host of nutrients that are lost while processing and refining white bread). For protein, try egg or yogurt. If you like, you can also add some veggies to your breakfast for an extra burst of vitamins/minerals. Complete the meal with a glass of water, milk, or fresh juice. To make the connection between Islam and food, try doing some quick research on Prophetic foods and try to incorporate this into your diet (such as dates and milk, dates and water, dates and cucumber, honey, vinegar, etc).
• Mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon: Don’t use your break to run for the coffee or soda machine. It may take less time for you to gulp a can filled with empty calories, but it will most definitely not help maintain your energy and alertness. Rather, have a fruit or two, or maybe some veggie sticks. Oranges, apples, peaches, pears, bananas, carrots, and celery are all easy to bring to work. This way, you are giving your taste-buds something natural and fresh, you are supplying your body with healthy nourishment, and preventing an overload of empty calories. You will also find eating lighter will keep you more cheerful and energetic as unnatural sugar and unhealthy foods cause your energy levels and mood to spike.
• Bonus Tip: If you can schedule in the time, it is also healthy to start your day with mild exercise. If you’re new to exercise, you don’t need to hit the treadmill for one hour straight, at 5am. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, and take a 10 minute walk or do some breathing and stretches at home. Fresh air and/or a pair of active limbs will definitely get your heart pumping, helping your mind stay alert. During this time you can do dhikr of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, or draw a mental picture of your plans for the day ahead.
The aforementioned techniques are extremely easy. Remember that the key to a successful work-life balance is to stay positive and feed your body with the right type of foods in the right amounts. Eat healthfully to maintain and nourishthe body that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has blessed you with. To end, it was the advice of a pious predecessor that to discipline our nafs we should eat less, speak less, sleep less, and socialise [unnecessarily] less; eating less does not mean going on a low-carb high-protein diet, or shrinking to a size zero, but rather not over-indulging; try to make this a habit and you will find yourself more energetic for ibadaat and with a softer purer heart insha Allah. If we convert our intentions, we will not eat out of our own desires but our eating too could become for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.