Lunch Foods that Boost Productivity

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Are you curious about how food can help foster productivity? Choosing the right meal is crucial for keeping your brain energized throughout the day. If you want to avoid that midday crash, keep reading! We'll discuss which foods will have you saying "bring it on!" to every challenge that comes your way.

It’s been said that “you are what you eat.” However, with workplaces busier than ever, who’s got time to make a lunch that says “I’m awesome?” Chances are, you are more likely than ever to rush through a drive-thru line that screams to the world, “I’m just trying to survive!”

Spork Bytes provides a simple way for offices to treat their team members to a delicious meal to thank them by doing something that says, “we want you to thrive!” And while we’d never tell you to not “treat yo self”, some food options are better than others when the goal is to have a productive afternoon. Avoid the after-lunchtime nap with choices that will power you through the second half of your workday.

Our Criteria

While that bagel with cream cheese may have been the first thing you grabbed from the break room, the lunch that keeps you most productive during the rest of your day comes with steady portions of protein. Protein sources such as chicken, lentils, or tempeh work through your body’s digestive system slowly, so you get a long-lasting supply of energy. While fast-burning carbohydrates like pasta and bread provide a quick energy rush (great when you’re 10 minutes out from a presentation and haven’t eaten anything), if you eat too many of them, you’ll find yourself dozing off before 1pm. Our recommendations provide a balanced dose of carbs, protein, and some healthy fats to keep you satisfied, so you won’t make a midafternoon run to the vending machine.

Furthermore, we know you may be eating at your desk, on your way to your next meeting, or worse yet - while on the phone. There are options that are easy to grab and go, without condiments that will stain your work fit. They are easy to digest and won’t stink up your office. Without getting into specifics, we’ve all been there - next to that coworker who didn’t make the sensible choice at lunchtime and regretted it for the entire afternoon - we promise, no stinky fish here!

Our Top Eight Choices

Burrito Bowl

Lunches from Mexican restaurants like Spork Bytes’ favorite Aprisa are easy to customize just the way you like them. You can create a balanced meal with protein (chicken or beef), carbohydrates (rice and vegetables) and healthy fat (guacamole). Go easy on the cheese, beans, and fried chips, though, all of which will leave you feeling bloated and gassy for the rest of your workday. Add salsa, sautéed peppers, and onions for a flavor boost without a lot of added calories.

Teriyaki or StirFry Bowl

The Asian cousin to the burrito bowl above would also be easy to munch on at your desk without making a mess. Like the burrito bowl, just combine a protein with some rice and vegetables for a lunch that will keep you satisfied all afternoon. Consider Spork Bytes’ favorites Boke Bowl or Khao San for a variety of delicious and healthy choices!

Cold Noodle Salad from [Boke Bowl](https://www.sporkbytes.com/boke-bowl/) (Photo by Alan Weiner)

Cold Noodle Salad from Boke Bowl (Photo by Alan Weiner)

Subs and Sandwiches

The midday favorite from restaurants like Laurelhurst Market  are also easily made healthy, when you focus on proteins and vegetables. Go easy on the cheese and mayo, and avoid adding on those chips and cookies (or at least save these for your commute home, before you hit the gym). The high carb count of fried sides and sweets could have you dozing off at your desk! If you need more than just a sandwich, consider adding a broth-based soup with meats, chickpeas, or lentils to round out your lunch. And most of our spreads from Laurelhurst Market come with a salad to share with your team!

Sandwich platter from [Laurelhurst Market](https://www.sporkbytes.com/laurelhurst-market/)

Sandwich platter from Laurelhurst Market

Pizza

Typically full of carbohydrates, you can make your pizza a much better choice when you opt for a thin crust and avoid salty and spicy toppings like pepperoni and sausage. You can still add plenty of flavor when you select veggies, chicken, and pineapple for your pizza slices. Avoid the breadsticks, but throw in a serving of veggies with a side of Italian or Caesar salad to round out your meal (just go light on the dressing!). The veggie super pie at Pizza Jerk would be an excellent option!

Entree Salad

You can’t miss with entrees like a Cobb or Greek salad, especially when these salads contain hearty servings of chicken. The vegetables provide healthy carbohydrates, and add-ins like avocado and olives give a balanced amount of flavors and good fats to the meal. Spork Bytes partner Crisp Salads has tons of choices that will have you looking forward to heading into the office for your next catered lunch.

Salad spread from [Crisp Salads](https://www.sporkbytes.com/crispsalads/)

Salad spread from Crisp Salads

Grilled Meats with Vegetables

They may not be on the daily special list, but a simple grilled salmon or chicken breast served alongside vegetables and a potato or rice is great for anytime, not just dinner! Consider Pollo Norte’s rotisserie chicken alongside rice and a seasonal slaw for a delicious but not overly filling hot lunch. Their catering spreads come with an excellent variety of salsas and hot sauces, so you can customize the flavoring to your liking!

Salad spread from [Crisp Salads](https://www.sporkbytes.com/crispsalads/)

Spread by Pollo Norte

Frozen Entree

Are you surprised? It’s true - the most typical office lunch choice is actually not a bad one. Frozen meals from your grocery store are usually easy to grab and store in your office freezer. Plus, they heat up quickly in the microwave so you can have a hot meal in just a few minutes. To maximize your productivity, consider brands like Amy’s, Luvo, and Artisan Bistro for more natural ingredients, and watch the sodium count on any of your choices.

Finally, Don’t Forget the Drink!

If you find yourself starving by 9:30 am, before you reach for a snack, reach for your HydroFlask instead. You may actually be thirsty, not hungry. Staying hydrated is a simple way to keep your energy level up and keep your focus. Water is the best choice - aim to drink at least 8 oz. every hour.

Resist the urge to splurge on a sugary soda at lunchtime. These beverages elevate your blood sugar, making you burn out quickly and ready for a siesta before you’ve even turned your laptop back on. Likewise, while an afternoon cup of coffee may bring you back to work mode, avoid the allure of “dessert coffees” like a frozen blended latte or a hot mocha with whipped cream. While the caffeine burst might sound like an advantage, the sugar in these drinks will counteract it and make you crash before the end of your shift! No judgment though, if you find yourself needing that extra little bit of caffeine, our friends at Portland Roasting make sure it’s clean and local.

Choosing a catered and delivered lunch option from Spork Bytes is an easy way for offices to feed a team of any size with ease - whether it’s individually boxed meals for a large group of healthy eaters at the next planning meeting or a small bites and snack bar for a busy crew to graze on throughout their day. Local Portland offices can expand their team’s taste buds with trendy Cuban dishes from Pambiche, Hawaiian fare from Ate-oh-Ate, or pick can’t miss breakfast favorites from Cheryl’s on 12th for the next brunch meeting.

Need help deciding? Our concierges know about the hottest restaurants in Portland and they’ll be happy to recommend an awesome and delicious choice for your next company-sponsored meal. Contact us today to get started and fuel up with delicious lunch options that will satisfy any taste bud while boosting productivity.

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