Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Time to Eat! Nutrition Tips to Keep Entrepreneurs Sharp and Savvy

Published on Apr 3, 2013

Summary

Read 'Time to Eat! Nutrition Tips to Keep Entrepreneurs Sharp and Savvy' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
New company formation means long hours and little sleep for entrepreneurs, especially in the early days when the business is just getting off the ground. In these beginning phases, when it seems like you are living and breathing your business, it’s important to remember to take a step back, regroup and most importantly – eat. Good nutrition will not only prevent you from getting sick, but there have been plenty of studies reflecting that certain eating patterns and types of foods make a difference in an entrepreneur’s mental acuity. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – whatever you do – don’t skip it! “You need breakfast to fill up your mental bank account, so your brain has fuel to think clearly,” said Elaine Wilkes, a nutrition expert and author of Food Choices Made Easy. So what should you eat or drink to kick off the workday? Traditionally, entrepreneurs drink coffee in the morning which gives a nice caffeine boost to wake up and promote alertness. Recent studies have supported that coffee may even boost your learning abilities and powers of reasoning. However, as will all foods, moderation is key. In a study conducted in 1999 and reported on in Science Daily, James Lane, associate research professor of psychiatry at Duke University wrote that, “If you combine the effects of real stress with the artificial boost in stress hormones that comes from caffeine, then you have compounded the effects considerably.” Not everyone is a coffee drinker, but some alternatives to coffee include:
  • Green tea. It has enough caffeine to be considered a stimulant, and it has L-theanine, which has a calming effect and counters many of caffeine’s negative effects.
  • Dark chocolate. It provides an energizing buzz as well as some of the same antioxidants and health benefits green tea offers.
Start the day with protein. Protein is a source of lasting energy, which means it can help you stay sharp throughout the day.  However, not all protein is created equal. If you eat tryptophan, which is usually found in turkey, you may become tired. By contrast, tyrosine, which is found in some proteins, is ideal for entrepreneurs because of its ability to sustain energy in a high-stress environment. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a board-certified internist and author of From Fatigued to Fantastic, says cheese and milk are a good source of tyrosine, and suggests eating a cheese omelet with a glass of milk for breakfast. Although it’s good to snack throughout the day to stay energized, snacking can be dangerous depending on what you choose to eat. Entrepreneurs should avoid simple sugars, such as soft drinks and candy bars because these provide a relatively immediate surge in energy, followed by a rapid decline in energy as the sugar is used up. A better approach is to snack on foods infused with healthy fats, such as wild salmon, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. According to the experts, some examples of good balanced snacks include:
  • An apple with a low-fat string cheese
  • A tablespoon of natural peanut butter on a slice of whole grain bread
  • A salad of mixed raw vegetables with olive oil, vinegar, and a small scoop of tuna or chicken salad
  • A cup of light cottage cheese with sliced strawberries
  • A cup of low fat sugar-free yogurt