Tips for staying fuelled when working late in the office


Being an entrepreneur, especially during the startup grind phase and often long taxing hours is not for the faint-hearted. Some people find it’s best to maintain their focus through eating nutritious food, exercising, getting high-quality sleep and wisely cutting out weekday alcohol.

So important is the ability to remain at peak mental performance, that menshealth.com reports that an ever bigger number of billionaires, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, executives and students now admit to the use of nootropics or natural brain-boosting supplements.

Arguably, the single best thing you can do if you need to burn the midnight oil is to fuel your body properly, eliminating the foods that cause that mid-afternoon crash. Here are some office diet Dos and Don’ts.

Beat the mid-afternoon burnout

The number one culprit behind that post-lunch slump is refined, simple carbohydrates such as sugar, fruits high in glucose, white bread, sugary drinks and fruit juices and other refined grains. They provide a surge in blood-sugar levels and temporarily increased energy however, because the body does not have to work hard to metabolise them, this actually slows down your metabolism and brings on a feeling of lethargy.

White flour is low in nutrients and also slows digestion. Some form of gluten sensitivity also affects one in three people, with the main symptom not being bowel-related, but the dreaded brain fog.

Choose protein-rich meals such as eggs, grilled fish or meat and vegetables instead. Go for whole or complex grains such as quinoa, low-GI bread, wild or brown rice, farro, wild rice, and sprouted grain breads, and sip on green tea in between those lattes.

If you need a sweet pick-me-up, peanut butter on wholewheat bread is a good option. Alternatively, try sweet treats that have lower glycemic, nutrient-rich sweeteners like organic honey, coconut sugar and pure maple syrup. Snacking on seeds such as pumpkin, flax, chia or pomegranate seeds is great and will keep you satiated, far better than doughnuts. Do not overindulge in nuts though as they are high in fat.

Working late? When in doubt, go Asian or Indian

Some of your best options for in-office suppers are spice-dense, white-flour-free Indian takeouts or Asian meals. Fortunately, there are many quality of Eastern-inspired, Asian and Asian Fusion food in every metropolis whcih can be delivered to your office by the likes of Deliveroo.

Asian meals use soy instead of sodium, minimising your salt intake, which will keep your blood pressure consistent. Chicken is a lean, healthy protein and most Asian preparations don’t involve too many ‘heavy’, put-me-to-sleep refined carb additions.

The frequent use of sesame seed lowers cholesterol, acts as an anti-inflammatory and boosts nutrient absorption. As for Indian options, they’re packed with almost all the spices that boost your metabolism: cumin, cardamom, chilli, ginger, capsicum, turmeric and black pepper.

Next time you’re putting in extra hours, ask yourself if that doughnut or white burger bun is really worth it and swap it for a wholewheat sandwich. Working late won’t amount to much if you’re taking double the time to get on that to-do list!