You’ve got to eat smart to work smart. As far as I’m concerned not all calories are equal and dieting is a dirty word. I’m sure most of you have worked in companies where cutback after cutback has led to a reduction in output, quality and effectiveness. It’s the same with food. If you don’t eat enough of the right type neither your body nor your brain will function at its best. These are the eat smart basics:

Don’t skip breakfast

Eating breakfast helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels and regulate your energy levels. It also reduces the risk of overeating during the day to compensate for hunger and lack of energy. A high protein eggy breakfast is ideal and for those of you thinking I don’t have time for that in the morning go back to step 1 and get organized! Whip up some egg muffins the night before.

Fat doesn’t make you fat

Fat has no relationship with insulin so when you consume good quality fat it doesn’t cause the rise and fall in sugar levels and consequent insulin release that you get from carbohydrates. Don’t be afraid of fat. Your brain is 60% fat so you need fat to function. Without good quality fats you really can’t think properly. How can you make good business decisions if you can’t think straight?

If it’s white it’s not alright

White starchy carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and white pasta stress out your body and lead to hormone imbalance. Simply swap white for wholemeal. Watch out for added sugar that is hidden in all kinds of foods you don’t expect like so called healthy cereal bars and low fat products. If the food label shows the sugar content is over 10g per 100g it’s not a healthy option. You may well get an energy boost but it will be followed by a slump that will leave you struggling to stay focused all afternoon.

Reduce stimulants

Caffeine will raise your cortisol levels so if you enjoy a warm drink stick to water or herbal infusions after 2pm. For those of you exhibiting signs of menopause or battling menopause weight gain I’d recommend quitting caffeine altogether. Instead enjoy a peppermint tea which will have no impact on your cortisol levels and is proven to reduce sugar cravings.

Stay hydrated

Aim to drink 2 litres of water each day. Studies have shown that thirst and hunger sensations are triggered together. If you’re slightly dehydrated the thirst mechanism can be mistaken for hunger and you may eat when actually your body is craving fluid. Next time a hunger craving hits you in the office head for the water cooler not the canteen.

Follow the eat smart basics and you’ll soon find that you’re working smarter too. You’ll be more focused, productive and effective and you might even get that promotion you’ve been chasing too.