Fuel Your Productivity

By Aminah Madihah

Eat right for optimal work performance.

Experiencing fatigue at work? Find yourself easily falling sick? Or do you have a hard time keeping focus as work starts piling up?

If your answer is yes to all of the above, it is important to start eating healthy to get a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B, Vitamin D3, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, magnesium, iron and zinc to get through the day and deliver your tasks well.

Here’s an easy meal plan to incorporate all that goodness into your daily meals.

Breakfast Suggestions

1. Nasi Lemak
If you love local food for breakfast, you can never go wrong with nasi lemak to start your day! The rice is a good source of carbohydrates, accompanied by fibre and protein depending on the vegetables and side dishes you have it with.

However, too much nasi lemak can be a little heavy for breakfast so make it healthy! Have it without fried chicken or opt for basmati and brown rice (hooray to shops that offer this!), all great alternatives if you want to avoid feeling too full.

2. Sandwich
If having rice for breakfast is too heavy, opt for sandwiches instead! It’s easy to make and you can choose to have it sweet by spreading fruit jams or peanut butter, or have it savoury by layering your sandwich with meat, cheese or eggs.

Use wholemeal bread to make your sandwich as it provides higher nutrient content, reduces cholesterol levels, and controls blood sugar levels.

3. Cereal
Another classic favourite, convenient if you’re in a rush. Many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and vitamin D. Pair your cereal with milk for calcium and protein.

But be careful - many popular cereals are loaded with added sugars, which can be detrimental to your health. Opt for healthy cereals such as oatmeal, whole grain cereals, low-sugar cereals and granola. If you want more flavour, you can add fruits!

Lunch Suggestions

1. Chicken Rice
Starting with another local favourite, chicken rice is the staple Malaysian lunch! Not only is it tasty and filling, it is also a balanced meal with carbohydrates and protein, and is low in fat and served with nutritious toppings such as sliced cucumber, tomatoes and chilli sauce. These provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

However, if you’ve already had rice for breakfast, consuming more carbs can cause weight gain. Wouldn’t recommend this for those who want to watch their weight!

2. Noodle soup
There are many different types of noodle soups in Malaysia from Chinese-style noodle soups like wanton mee and fishball noodles to Malay-style laksa and curry noodle soups. It’s recommended to choose clear soup over curry as it is lower in calories, contains less sodium, and is more nutrient dense and easier to digest.

3. Salad with protein
If you’re looking to maintain or lose some weight, this is the perfect meal! Build a salad with leafy greens, vegetables like bell peppers and carrots, and add a protein like grilled chicken, tuna, or tofu. Top with a healthy dressing made with olive oil and vinegar.

Dinner Suggestions

1. Burgers
After a tiring day of working, you want something quick for dinner without having to fuss about cooking. Go on, give yourself a treat at the drive-thrus or order a burger from the roadside stalls. Pick the healthier versions, those with more veggies or simply ask Abang Burger to pile them on. Keep in mind though burgers can be high in calories and saturated fat so it’s not recommended for you to eat this very often.

2. Grilled protein
Choose your favourite protein such as salmon, which is a great source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids or chicken that is rich in lean protein and provides nutrients like vitamin B6 and niacin. Serve them with vegetables - it could be roasted, steamed or baked according to your own preference.

3. Kebabs
Load up your wrap with lean protein, vegetables and use healthy marinades… dinner ready in just 10 minutes! Serve with nutritious sides such as brown rice, quinoa or a salad to round out your meal.

For snack suggestions (if you have a habit of munching on food when you’re busy or just bored), try fresh fruits! They’re a much healthier option than your usual potato chips and chocolates.

Tell us what else you like to eat to be healthy @Graduan.

Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash.

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