In the whirlwind that is running a business, there are a lot of pieces that can fall to the wayside as work takes precedent: exercise, spending time with friends, hobbies… But one of the most important aspects to productivity is also often forgotten — nutrition.
“How we eat makes a big difference in how we feel and how we express how we feel,” Jesse Haas, certified functional nutritionist and co-founder of the community for holistic healthcare professionals Wellness Minneapolis, said.
Haas primarily works with women ages 25 to 45 who struggle with work/life balance and often experience physical effects such as digestive issues and high anxiety.
“All of this can be supported by eating,” Haas said, mentioning that she works to implement small, sustainable changes to nutrition habits that will make a difference as opposed to one or two big changes that may not last as long.
One of these simple changes is having a schedule.
Make Time for Nutrition
“Eating on a regular basis and not skipping meals is really important,” Haas said.
Patty Post, founder and CEO of Checkable Medical, tries to do just that. At her company, which launched in May of 2019 and is currently developing an at-home antibody test for COVID-19, she often works seven days a week.
“There’s a lot of understanding that time is of the essence,” Post said of how she juggles a life with three kids at home with her business.
But there’s one thing that always stays on the schedule — dinner as a family.
“We always eat dinner together, just to connect with one another and talk about the day,” she said.
During dinner, the family crew draws from a jar of questions such as, “Where would you travel right now if you had the chance?” to help spark meaningful conversation. Post also pencils in daily breaks for breakfast and lunch to connect while everyone is working from home.
Plan Your Meals
Scheduling meals is also how Katrina Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Clinician Nexus, makes sure she stays on top of her nutrition.
“With nutrition, it’s primarily having a plan,” she said. “If I don’t plan my meals, then I eat really poorly, and it affects my work.”
Luckily, her husband is an “incredible chef.” When they plan out meals — and he makes them, she admits — she’s much more productive.
Anderson and her partner also went alcohol-free for the first three months of the year to stay healthy and focused. Even though that understandably fell to the wayside during the global pandemic, she noticed a big difference in clarity and lack of a “brain fog.”
These stressful times can actually be an opportunity to change your diet because there are fewer options, Haas said. She mentioned a few key items to kick-start a healthier diet including protein rich foods with healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, olives and chocolate.
According to Haas, nutritional health and mental health are directly linked — the neurons in our brains that enable us to communicate, process emotions, and work productively need nutrients to function.
Being mindful about feeding our brains and taking breaks throughout the day is a surefire way to get more work done, Hass said.
“It will improve your productivity,” she said. “I guarantee.”
Interested in hearing more about health lifestyles from Minnesota entrepreneurs? Check out some other entries in our Work Well series!