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Why Laughter Works in Wellness

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Laughter is just what the doctor ordered

We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. Now let’s talk about why this is the prescription we could all use. 

Think about how you feel when you watch a funny show or movie, or you’re told a funny story. You can’t help but to smile and feel good. Well, when this sensation happens, a similar positive response happens internally to your body systems. Laughter benefits us in many ways. These benefits can be physical, emotional, spiritual and can help us to heal.

So, how does this work and how can you take advantage of these benefits?

Short-term Benefits of Laughter

Laughing has the ability to benefit our short- and long-term health. In the short-term, it can be an immediate relief for us.

 

Laughing can… 

  • Relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. By laughing, you can increase circulation and help relax your muscles.
  • Stimulate organs. When you laugh, more oxygen enters circulation in the body, helping to stimulate body systems.
  • Stabilize blood pressure. Laughter has been shown to relax blood vessels, helping to decrease blood pressure.
  • Aid digestion. The act of laughing stimulates activity of the digestive tract and can aid in digestion. 
  • Reduce stress. Laughing decreases stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, in your blood. In other words, it demonstrates a reversal of the body’s stress response

Long-term Benefits of Laughter

When we fill our life with laughter, there’s more than just an immediate feeling of joy and catharsis. We  can experience benefits way beyond that immediate moment. For instance, laughter can profoundly impact our health overtime.

Overtime, laughter has the ability to …

  • Improve your immune system and mood. When you experience negative thoughts, these trigger a stress response in the brain and suppress the immune system. But when you experience the positive emotions that laughter brings, endorphins– the “feel good” hormones, are released.  Then your immune cells and antibody activity are strengthened. This all helps to support your immune system.
  • Relieve pain. Studies have shown that when you experience laughter, your brain releases endorphins.  This response enables you to better tolerate pain. 
  • Help with coping. By finding humor in stressful or difficult situations, you can turn a negative perspective to a positive one.  As a result, you may be better able to cope with stress.
  • Benefit mental health. Laughter has the ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase your resilience.  Therefore, you may bounce back faster from life challenges and see the positive in hard situations.  
  • Improve relationships and social connectivity. Laughter has the power to unite and connect people. It also increase perceptions of others as likable. 

How Can You Fill Your Life With More Laughter?

  • Make it a habit to be around people who make you laugh and improve your mood
  • Watch a funny show, video, or movie to relax and unwind
  • Call a friend who you can laugh and joke with 
  • Tell a story of something funny that happened to you 
  • Do fun activities that spark joy and laughter (games, sports, goat yoga, reading, etc.)

Along with these laughter-eliciting activities, there are scientifically studied therapies that include laughter as a form of healing.

Laughter Therapies

  • Laughter yoga is a technique that combines simulated laughter and breathing exercises for physiological and psychological benefits.
  • Laughter meditation is the practice of focused laughter to release emotional and physical stress.
  • Humor/Laughter therapy includes a range of laughter-eliciting activities. And it has been used in healthcare for its physical and psychological benefits.

Humor for Wellness Marketing

Humor and laughter don’t just have a direct contribution to our body health. They also contribute to the effectiveness of health interventions for a broader population. For example, humor is a great tool for marketing wellness. It engages us and makes us laugh and tune in. As a result, humorous messaging is shared more often and passed along, broadening the reach of a message. And when the message is something that can help individuals improve their health and wellness, it is even more important that we pass it along. 

If you are looking to spread the message of wellness to your employees, contact us at info@bkomplete.com to sign up for our wellness newsletter. 

Humor to Empower Health

When we talk about our health, it can be an intimidating or overwhelming discussion. But when we use humor, we have the power to eliminate some of the stress associated with confronting one’s health. That’s why there is nothing wrong with using a funny meme or video to initiate a discussion on health. Otherwise this topic may be too difficult for some to address.

 

By empowering people to talk about their health, goals, and needs, we can help them take steps to improving their health and being the best version of themselves. 

Humor is empowering, healing, and therapeutic. So take advantage of the power of a good laugh and enjoy the benefits that follow. To learn more about how you can reduce stress and bring positivity to your life, contact B.Komplete.

And for a quick laugh and wellness tip, check out our video below!

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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How to Help Employees Cope with Crisis and Prioritize Mental Health

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We are all in crisis (COVID-19) and the challenge to our mental health is overwhelming. In a recent poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. This is a problem because when our stress increases, so does risk of physical and psychological issues. These issues include digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, emotional distress, and triggers to mental health disorders. Under these conditions no one can perform their best.  And when you relate this to your employee population, the challenges to employee well-being are significant.  Poor mental health affects employee productivity, performance, and health. By helping your employees cope with stress and crisis, your business will see more productive, safer, well-adjusted and happier employees.

As a result of the ongoing global health crisis, we are facing an unprecedented surge of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. If these mental health issues are not addressed now, this can lead to prolonged suffering with long-lasting impacts. The question is, how can you help your employees cope with crises now and avoid these negative health outcomes in the future?

Encourage your employees

Be there for your employees. Providing guidance for employees during times of crisis is imperative. Focusing on employee wellness will allow you to help employees better cope with crises. Encourage the right behaviors that will lead employees toward better mental, physical, and emotional health. Help your employees with some of the tips below. 

Social Connectivity for Mental Health

Studies show that people who feel more connected to others experience lower rates of anxiety and depression. During times of social distancing, employees may feel more isolated and may struggle to remain social.


If working from home, add virtual group meetings and check-ins. This will keep social ties between coworkers and instill a support system. Encourage video chat lunch breaks or a walking club to remain connected as a work team.  Healthy competition is a great way to keep employees connected – schedule a B.Komplete Online Wellness Challenge to engage your employees across the Country (and the World).

Physical Activity for Mental Health

Now more than ever, it is important to encourage physical activity. Regular physical activity positively impacts the mind and body. The problem is, people are participating in less physical activity as a result of mandated quarantines. Getting active and adding physical activity into your day will bring better energy – better sleep – sharper memory – and more positive feelings. 

Encourage employees to get outdoors on days when the weather is nice.  If working from home, take the time that would be spent on commuting to do something physical, no matter how big or small.

Start an exercise group for employees to share home workouts and tips. This will provide employees a support system to help them stay motivated in their fitness goals. If employees need a little extra support and accountability, video chat walks are the perfect solution. It’s as easy as calling a friend or co-worker during your lunch break or at the end of the work day and getting moving. This is a great way to get active while staying social.

Healthy Eating for Mental Health

When employees eat better and focus on nourishing their bodies, they are better prepared with the energy to take on stressful situations. The nutrients in our food affects how well our mind and body are able to function. It is important to choose a healthy balance of foods to be able to take on the day and cope with stress. One recommendation to aim for is to consume 2, 4-oz servings of oily fish a week for DHA benefits. 

Encourage employees to take lunch breaks and prep meals ahead of time as would normally be done for an in-person work week.  We can help make cooking simple (and delicious)!  Contact us to learn more.

Self Care for Mental Health

Practicing self-care means finding ways to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health. This can include physical activity, meditation, sleep/rest, journaling, engaging with friends and family, or taking on a new hobby. 

Self-care can be anything really- it just depends on the person and what makes them feel good.  Encourage employees to find the activities they enjoy that benefit them mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Seeking Professional Guidance

Normalize the practice of reaching out for help and seeking professional help when needed. Talk about the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking help.

Encourage employees to seek professional counseling or assistance if their mental health is not well. Some resources to turn to for further help include the disaster distress helpline, crisis textline, national suicide prevention lifeline, and resource hotline for substance abuse disorders. Visit mentalhealth.gov for crisis numbers and resources.

Finding Positive Hobbies for Mental Health

With many of us experiencing increased stress, it’s so important to add positive activities into the day.  This can help as a distraction from any negativity and can act as an outlet to release stress. 

These positive activities can include any of the previously mentioned behaviors such as exercise, self-care practices, and socializing. Creative activities can also be incorporated to reduce stress and relax. 

Work-Life Balance for Mental Health

Navigating a work-life balance is a difficult feat in and of itself, but adding the element of working from home, possibly with family in the mix, is a whole new challenge. Consider a more lenient approach to the workday.  Discuss work plans with employees to understand their availability and needs.

Utilize these tips and find an approach that works best for you and your employees. Coping with a crisis is not easy, but you can offer encouragement and be there for your employees so that they can continue to be there for you and your clients.  B.Komplete is here to help.  We are offering all of our wellness services virtually.  Contact us to learn how we can engage your population, reduce employee stress, and ensure connectivity and positivity with your workforce.

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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Easy Plant-Based Dinner Recipes in Under 30 Minutes

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What’s for dinner?  If the thought of this question stresses you out – this blog post is for you!  Preparing a delicious and well-balanced dinner for yourself and your family doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or stressful.  And flipping traditional recipes into more nutritious and plant-based is one of the B.Komplete specialties.  Check out our top recipe hacks for easy plant-based dinner recipes that will take you less than 30 minutes to prepare.    

BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

For fast cooking of baked potatoes use the microwave (recommend wetting a paper towel and wrapping each potato in the damp towel).  Using a fork poke a few holes in the potato.  It will take about five minutes to cook one sweet potato in the microwave, and add two minutes in the microwave for each additional potato. 

To get the potatoes crispy you will cook quickly in the oven.  Preheat your oven to 425 F. After you have done most of the cooking in the microwave, cut the potatoes in half and put on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven until the outside is crispy, 5 – 10 minutes.

While your potatoes are cooking, heat a saucepan on medium-low, stir together your protein choice and BBQ sauce. Heat until warm, 5-10 minutes.

Top each potato with scoopfuls of the protein and sauce mixture. Spoon over additional BBQ sauce and top with sliced avocado.  

Meatball Salad

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Hearts of Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup of Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Medium Cucumber, sliced
  • ½ Cup Red Onion, diced
  • ½ Cup Fresh Parsley or 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley 
  • 12 Gardein Meatballs
  • 1 Cup Biena Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas
  • Your favorite Italian Salad or Greek Salad Dressing or top with a splash of oil oil and lemon

Instructions:

To cook the meatballs follow the package instruction.  In a large bowl mix together the lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, onion and parsley.  Next dress with the salad dressing or oil and lemon and mix well.  Then portion the salad onto 4 plates and top each plate with 3 cooked meatballs and ¼ cup of the chickpeas.

Fried No-Rice Rice

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup White Onion, diced (this is approximately a medium onion)
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons of Vegetable Broth (you can use water if you don’t have this)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Cup of Cascadian Farms Shelled Edamame
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Corn, Peas and Carrots
  • 2 Cups of Cascadian Farm Cauliflower Rice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Onion Powder
  • 5 – 6 Tablespoons of Tamari or Soy Sauce

Instructions:

Turn your burner to medium and using a medium – lage pan heat the oil until warm.  Add the frozen vegetables and cauliflower rice and allow to cook until soft.  Add the onion, edamame and garlic and continue to cook.  After the vegetables are lightly brown pour in the vegetable broth.  After the no-rice rice is finished cooking flavor with the onion powder and the Tamari or Soy Sauce.  Enjoy immediately or store in single serve containers for meal prep.

Spicy Chili

This recipe makes 6 servings.

So, technically this isn’t 30 minutes to make.  It will take you about 20 minutes to assemble.  And then you can use a slow cooker, which will take 6 – 8 hours.  

Ingredients:

  • 2, 15.5-oz cans no-salt-added red kidney beans and 2 15.5-oz cans no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans no-salt-added black beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can no-salt-added, diced tomato (undrained)
  • 2 cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano (crumbled)
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 medium garlic cloves (minced)

Instructions:  

The original recipe advised to combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix.  Seperate into 2 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bags and lay flat to freeze.  Prior to cooking take the bags out of the freezer and thaw under refrigeration overnight.  However if you want to cook right away skip the freezer step and proceed right to the cooking.  To cook, place the chili in a slow cooker and cook covered, on low, for 6 – 8 hours until the beans are tender.  Enjoy over salad, brown rice or quinoa, and topped with a slice of avocado.  This recipe is also perfect for meal prep.  

Plant-Based Tuna Melts

Such a classic meal – updated for a plant based option.  This recipe makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pouches of Good Catch Fish-less Tuna
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion or 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • ¼ cup Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard 
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices Daiya Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread (try Ezekiel

In a small mixing bowl break up the tuna with a fork. Toss with the celery, onion and parsley. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and season with pepper, to taste. Stir to combine. Place the tuna salad on the bread slices and top each with 1 slice of the cheese.  Heat in a toaster oven (medium high) or regular oven (use the broiler or heat to 375 F) for 3 – 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasty.  Enjoy!

Let’ us know how your plant-based recipes come out!  Tag us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube with your creations!  

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Top 10 Best Immune System Boosters

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“The immune system is a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.  Quite a number of researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, herbal supplements, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans. Although interesting results are emerging, thus far they can only be considered preliminary (Harvard Health Publishing).”

During our world pandemic due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) we all must take preventative cautionary steps to maintain optimal health and reduce the spread of the virus.  We have been advised to practice social distancing and stay home. But what else can we do? The next most important step is to maintain a healthy immune system.

 

Adopting healthy behaviors are your first line of defense for a strong immune system

Tip 1: Live Tobacco Free

If you already live a tobacco-free lifestyle you are doing yourself a gigantic health favor.  And if you use tobacco there are resources to help you reduce your intake and ultimately kick the habit.   Visit the Mayo Clinic’s Smoking Cessation Guide. Check out Healthline’s List of Products to help you quit.  Email us admin@bkomplete.com to learn more about our Tobacco Cessation Program.

Tip 2: Eat a Diet Rich in Nutrients

Eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in added sugar, saturated and trans saturated fat.  But, what does that mean to eat exactly?  No stress, we have you covered! Check out our Meal Prep Guide, Healthy Hydration Hacks, What are Pre and ProBiotics, What Foods to Eat in the Winter and What Foods to Eat in the SummerStill not sure?  No problem, email us at admin@bkomplete.com to schedule your nutrition and wellness consult. This is how we can help you learn more about which foods to eat.

Tip 3: Exercise Regularly

In addition to eating  more nutrient-rich foods, it is also important to get regular exercise. That equals at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity and at least 2 instances per week of muscle training for all major muscle groups.  But we know the biggest barrier to exercise is time. Now that many of us are working from home we have gained back the time it took for our commute to the office.  Use that extra time to add physical activity into your day. You will feel great and reduce your stress! Not sure how to exercise at home? Check out this Home Gym 101 article on body weight exercises you can do at home.  You can also visit Fitness Blender on YouTube for hundreds of free exercise routines.   

Tip 4: Maintain a Healthy Weight

 A healthy body weight does NOT mean the lowest body weight.  At B.Komplete we never recommend restrictive diets.  A healthy body weight philosophy means that you have accepted your body and you are practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Body acceptance includes mindful eating, frequent exercise, self compassion, and healthcare prevention. One important measure rather than your weight is your waist circumference.  Elevated waist circumferences can be a predictor for heart issues. The goal for waist circumference is less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men. Another measure is your body fat percentage. While this can range significantly you can visit Healthline for more information.

Tip 5: Control Your Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure impacts roughly 1 in 3 Americans.  This puts us at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.  But the good news is, by following the guidance of your healthcare team you can control your blood pressure. The first defense is practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors (all of the items on this list). This should be practiced in combination with taking prescribed blood pressure medication.  If you are unsure what your blood pressure is, order a blood pressure cuff to use at home.  

Tip 6: Drink in Moderation

If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.  In times of stress alcohol may seem even more inviting.  But practicing moderation is the key for your success. For men the recommendation is no more than 2 drinks per day. And for women the recommendation is no more than 1 drink per day.  A standard drink is generally equal to 1-12 ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1 – 1.5 ounces of liquor.  And watch out for drinks with a lot of added sugar and make sure that you hydrate well before, during and after intake of alcohol. 

Tip 7: Get Adequate Sleep

“Adequate” sleep generally means 7 – 9 hours per night of restful slumber for most adults.  If this sounds like a dream you may need to work on your sleep health. Because getting enough sleep does more than give you energy. It also helps to boost your immune system and benefits your metabolism.  Learn more from Healthy People

Tip 8: Take Steps to Avoid Infection and Protect Your Immune System

This means washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.  Hand washing has always been our first life of defense against infection.  And with the pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19)public health organizations are providing as much guidance as possible on the proper way to wash your handsSafe food handling has always been paramount to reduce our risk for food borne illness.  For instance, cooking meat to the proper temperature, not using the same cutting board for meat and produce, and storing food properly are just a few basic practices.  Learn more from the USDA on keeping food safe.  

Tip 9: Get Regular Healthcare Prevention Screenings

Get regular healthcare prevention screenings for people in your age group and risk category.  This means visiting your primary care physician at least annually and getting your blood measured. This also means getting your preventative dental exams, cancer screenings, eye exams and meeting with your  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian for your preventative wellness visits.  Learn more about the frequency of various healthcare prevention exams from the Cleveland Clinic

Virtual Counseling

Tip 10: Manage Your Stress

We are facing great uncertainty, illness, and economic challenges with the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, stress is higher than everSome of our go-to tips for managing stress include breath exercises, practicing meditation and mindfulness, engaging in physical activity, laughing, and practicing gratitude.  Learn more about some of our go-to stress reduction ideas here

If you enjoyed this post please share with your family, friends and colleagues.  Because the more we can do to support our immune system and stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the better our world will be.  

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Intermittent Fasting- The Power to Help Prevent Cancer?

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We all know someone who has experienced hearing the words, “You have cancer.” According to the CDC, for every 100,000 people, there are 436 new cancer cases and 156 died due to cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. One of every four deaths in the US is due to cancer. What is one of the potential solutions to this growing disease? Let’s discuss – Intermittent Fasting.

Can intermittent fasting be a new way to help prevent this disease? Most of us already know that a balanced and healthy lifestyle is the first step to help prevent cancer.  Activities include frequent exercise, nutritious food choices, keeping a healthy weight, alcohol in moderation and avoiding tobacco. New research suggests that what has been a religious practice, and a very restrictive dieting program, can potentially help prevent and treat this deadly disease.

Continuous research is being done supporting the role of fasting on cancer treatment and prevention. Calorie restriction is able to reduce and delay cancer incidence, and inhibits tumor progression and metastasis. Fasting can kill cancer cells, boost the immune system, and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

What is Fasting?

It is voluntarily going without food  for varying lengths of time. Specifically, intermittent fasting is a complete avoidance of calorie intake for 16-18 hours daily or alternating a fasting day with a normal energy intake day. The theory is that it will slow your metabolism.

Pro's of Intermittent Fasting

Con's of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight loss
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves biometric markers
  • Can aid in the growth of new nerve cells
  • Slow aging
  • High dropout rate
  • Overeating typically occurs following fasting days
  • Expensive meal plans
  • Limited research to support
  • Promotes a restrictive mentality

Intermittent Fasting... and Cancer?

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting means not eating for lengths of time, right? When there is more food available in the body, the cells become less sensitive to insulin. So, you are probably thinking “what does that mean?” Insulin resistance means that cells do not respond to insulin signals, leading to more glucose in the blood and a higher fat storage. When our body is fasting, it tries to conserve as much energy as possible so the cells become more sensitive to insulin, can remove glucose from blood and there is less fat stored. Simple answer: when there is more sensitivity to insulin, cancer cells have a harder time developing or growing.

Reverses Effects of Chronic Conditions

Certain conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes have been identified as risk factors for cancer. When affected by these conditions, the risk for multiple times of cancers is higher, and there is a lower chance of survival. Fasting has been proven to increase weight loss. This reduces obesity rates and diabetes which can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Can Improve Quality of Life During Chemotherapy

Fasting improves people’s responses to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration; protects blood against harmful effects of chemotherapy; reduces side effects from chemotherapy. Patients who were fasting during chemotherapy also reported higher energy levels and a higher tolerance.

What Should You Eat?

Focus on nutrient density by selecting wholesome foods that provide you energy, nutrients and fill your belly. Mix up your veggie choices to get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Let’s not forget about the importance of protein! Foods with protein will keep you full, which is important for the days where you are fasting. Pay close attention to low calorie foods that create high volume- on both your plate and in your belly!

More Information

Do you want more information on this type of diet or an example of what a fasting meal plan looks like? We provide counseling and you may qualify for free sessions.  Email B.Komplete at admin@bkomplete.com for more information and to see if you quality for our free in-network counseling. 

Resources:

  1. I Tried Intermittent Fasting. Here’s What Happened
  2. Fasting- What You Should Know
  3. What To Eat On An Intermittent Fasting Diet
  4. Intermittent Fasting
  5. Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

Researched and written by Alexa Clark, Dietetic Intern

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Eat like a Dietitian and Exercise like a Trainer

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Living a healthy lifestyle can be difficult for all of us . Even for someone like a registered dietitian or personal trainer. But when you choose to take the steps to overcome barriers, you’ll be surprised to find out how rewarding living healthfully can be. Today we will be introducing you to just a few of the health and wellness professionals on the B.Komplete team.  You will learn how they have succeeded in overcoming their personal barriers and living a healthy lifestyle.

Meet Art, Registered Dietitian

Art is a Registered Dietitian and Life Coach on the B.Komplete Team.  Art has a unique background in social work that allows him to make long lasting relationships with those he counsels. While he loves what he does, his favorite job is being a father to his two daughters. 

He is motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to live up to his own expectations of being able to keep up with his 4-year old now and as she grows up.  While his life can be very busy, and health has to be a conscious decision, Art finds easy ways to make it fit.  

Art finds ways to intertwine nutrition with family time. This is made simple at dinner with house favorites like taco night. Art’s family’s taco night incorporates healthier ingredients. These are ingredients like lean ground turkey, an abundance of vegetables and low-fat cheese to make them more nutritious without missing out on flavor. Educating his family through cooking is something Art really enjoys. 

Indulging and mindfulness

 Even though Art is a wellness professional, he still allows himself to indulge at times as long as he is mindful. Whether it be with a piece of chocolate for dessert or a glass of wine at dinner. He takes the time to enjoy these small treats when he craves them. This is helpful so that he doesn’t feel the need to overdo it later on.

Identifying Motivators and Habits that Work

As a health professional, Art understands the importance of tapping into his internal motivators and challenging himself to strive for better, not perfect. When he can fit in a workout, he gives it his all to make the most of his time. He goes to the grocery store when he knows it will be less busy to save time. He drinks flavored seltzer water because plain water isn’t so exciting to him. Art uses his family as his “why” and plans to grow older without aches and pains as a result of his conscious healthy lifestyle. Art wants you to ask yourself: What is your internal motivator?

Schedule a 1:1 counseling session with a Registered Dietitian.

Meet Johari, Exercise Professional

Johari is an exercise professional on the B.Komplete Team.  Johari has an extensive background in dance. It was when she became injured that her doctor told her it was time to move her career in a new direction. Johari became a wellness professional when she became a personal trainer. She still loves incorporating dance into her exercise regimen and enjoys weight training. In addition, Johari is interested in learning more about parkour and powerlifting.

 For Johari, health has been a major priority in helping her to cope with and overcome substance abuse. She sees a Registered Dietitian to learn about what foods to incorporate into her lifestyle to make her feel like her best self. Never losing her love of dance, Johari has found a way to incorporate it into her life. With her own unique routines, she dances through her kitchen to make preparing food more satisfying.

Prioritizing Health and Nutrition

Johari puts on her Prince T-shirt and “blueberry beret” to prepare one of her favorite smoothies-which you can try for yourself! This smoothie contains blueberries, almond milk, chia seeds and banana. An alternative favorite is her “Moonwalker” special made with banana, unsweetened low-fat yogurt, pineapple, mango, and honey.

While cooking is not her favorite hobby, Johari has found ways to make it a priority in her life. Her health and nutrition regimen contributes to recovery while an unhealthy lifestyle makes relapse more possible. She has found her journey as a wellness professional to be both healing and rewarding. Johari has found reward in counseling other women struggling with recovery from substance abuse. Along with meditation, prayer and artwork, listening to others through counseling has been incredibly effective for stress management.

Advice

 If Johari could give one piece of advice toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it would be to “become your own hero.” Don’t be afraid to seek advice and utilize a health or wellness professional for guidance. Talk to people who have worked with different populations and use their expertise to your advantage.

Meet Liz, Registered Dietitian

Liz is a Registered Dietitian on the B.Komplete team. As a wellness professional, she loves leading by example. Liz loves seeing other people take what she teaches them and make it work for their lifestyle. 

One of the techniques Liz has found most beneficial to alleviate stress has been doing a 10-minute meditation of complete silence every morning when she wakes up. This allows her to start with a clean slate before starting her day. Her meditation is typically followed by a sweat session at the gym. 

As a former fitness instructor, Liz often switches up her routine between cardio, strength training and circuit training. This keeps her muscles working hard and boosts her metabolism. Meditation and exercise are two things that are non-negotiable in the start to her day. She stays consistent by  scheduling them to be a priority.

Meal Prepping

Meal preparation not for you? Liz takes an interesting approach to planning her meals. She starts by picking 2 to 3 breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week. Next, she makes a grocery list of all the ingredients she will need. As a fan of fresh-cooked food, Liz doesn’t make it a point to pick which meals she’ll eat when ahead of time or cook them all on one day. She picks which meal she makes based on what she’s feeling, makes double, and sets it aside. This way, she could have that meal again for lunch or dinner the next day or 2-3 days from then if desired. Extra veggies? No problem. Pre-cut or roasted vegetables are great to keep in the fridge for incorporating into future meals or snacks. For more meal prep tips visit our Meal Prep Guide for Busy People.

Liz makes health a priority in her lifestyle because she never wants her body to be what slows her down. Living healthfully allows her to not feel so guilty about her favorite guilty pleasures, ice cream and chocolate.

Advice

If Liz could give one piece of advice as a step toward living a healthier lifestyle, it would be make your life decisions based on the person that you want to be in the future, and enjoy each moment now.

Meet Natalie, Registered Dietitian

Natalie is a Registered Dietitian in the B.Komplete community. She has a very busy lifestyle, holding multiple jobs in various settings in the field. On top of that, Natalie is currently being a superwoman through maintaining her work load and living healthfully all with a baby on the way! She finds the most beneficial way for her to make health a priority is through scheduling it on her calendar. 

Natalie schedules time every night to set up her morning coffee and make her lunch and snacks for the following day. This allows her to run out the door quickly in the morning and avoid less healthy options that she may grab out or in a cafeteria had she not planned ahead.

Family and Wellness

Being pregnant, Natalie isn’t able to work out with the same intensity as she previously has, but this doesn’t stop her from finding the time to exercise. She tries her best to incorporate walking into her workday wherever possible whether it be getting up to walk to the bathroom, refilling her water bottle or saying hello to a coworker. She finds walking on her treadmill at home once a day to not only give her an opportunity to move, but time to decompress from her workday or call her friends and family. 

Taking the time to talk to your loved ones and catch up can be a great way to boost your mood while also relieving stress. Natalie has found living healthfully to be most rewarding in allowing her body to carry her through a healthy pregnancy. Living a healthy lifestyle is one controllable factor in her life that she loves to take advantage of. It leaves her feeling great, positive and more friendly. 

Advice

When your health falls behind, your life falls behind. Prioritizing your health can allow you to prioritize what matters most to you. Natalie’s biggest piece of advice is to pick one or two areas in your life that you want to focus on whether it be an activity or a relationship and schedule them! Scheduling is the key to success.

Becoming a Healthier You

So next time you’re thinking about making a change toward a healthy lifestyle, think less about how it will impact you now and more about how it can impact you in the future. Over time, these small changes can amount into a large one. Soon you won’t be able to realize a time when these habits weren’t a part of your life. Living healthfully can have a positive impact on your body, mind and overall wellbeing. It can help to prevent and reduce your risk for chronic diseases later and help you to feel better in the now. 

To learn more about our B.Komplete team and how we can help you to crush your goals, reach out to us at info@bkomplete.com

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

Nutrition and Food

Meal Prep Guide for Busy People

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A lack of time and a busy schedule are some of the reasons why people don’t cook and instead order take-out. As a result, these habits can cost us money and health.  In comparison, people who eat home-prepared meals have a healthier diet, consume fewer calories and are less likely to gain weight! [1-3] And for those with conditions like high blood pressure, which is about ⅓ of American adults,  meal prep can help be an excellent option. This can help you to create delicious and healthy meals that are lower in sodium and higher in potassium.

What’s the solution? Well, you guessed it (hint: it’s in the title) – Meal Prep.  There are numerous benefits to meal prep and planning. These include saving time and money, maintaining a healthy weight, gaining a nutritious diet, and reducing stress that comes with rushing and having to make last minute meal decisions.  

Meal planning is the key to success
for a nutritious diet.

But if lack of time is the main reason we don’t cook, then you must be thinking, how would meal prep fit into your busy schedule? This post will discuss ways to make meal planning simple, easy and work for you!

Step 1: Set yourself up for success

Lists and Planning

Create a list of healthy recipes you and your family will like.  Use a calendar or spreadsheet to organize meals and shopping lists. “What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl” is a wonderful free resource to browse recipes, save them and even add ingredients directly to a shopping list associated with your account.

Use whatever method works best for you.  Here at B.Komplete, we love our Meal Prep Formula for planning healthy, balanced meals. It’s also helpful for understanding portions.

5-day Meal Prep Chart
For 400 and 550 Calorie Options
Formula: (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
Grain/Starch Choices
400 cal = ½c cooked
550 cal = 1c cooked
Vegetable Choices
1 c cooked
Protein Choices
Fat Choices
1 Tbsp per 2-3 protein choices
Protein
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Seafood
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Vegetarian
400 cal = 4oz
550 cal = 6oz
Black Rice
400 cal: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550 cal: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Prepare 2.5 cups each
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic + Rosemary
400 cal: Prepare 5-4 oz breasts
550 cal: Prepare 5-6 oz breasts
Wild Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Thyme Grilled Tofu with Turmeric and Smoked Paprika
400: Prepare 2.5c
550 cal: ~3.75 cups
Olive Oil (good for sauteing)
Brown Rice
400: 3/4c uncooked = 2.5c Cooked
550: 1.5 Cup Uncooked = ~ 5 Cups Cooked
Carrots and Green Peas
Prepare 2.5c each
Grilled Chicken with Ground Ginger
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Wild Salmon with McCormick Salmon Seasoning Chick peas with Olives and Basil
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Canola Oil (All Purpose)
Quinoa
400: 1c uncooked = 3c cooked
550: 2c uncooked = 6c cooked
Asparagus
Prepare 5 Cups for Each
Baked Lemon and Parmesan Chicken
400: Prepare 5 – 4 oz. breasts
550: Prepare 5 – 6 oz. breasts
Baked Red Snapper with Black Pepper, Garlic, and Parsley Lentils with Basil, Sun-dried Tomato and Oregano
400: Prepare 2.5c 
550: Prepare 3.75c
Avocado Oil (Good for Grilling and Roasting)

 

 

Instructions on using the Meal Prep Formula Chart: cook the amount shown under the chosen item within each food group to then have enough meals for 5 days.

Examples of 400 calorie meals using the above formula  (1 grain) + (1 Veg) + (1 Meat/Seafood/Veg protein) + (1 Fat)
  • ½ cup Black rice, 1 cup carrots and green peas (prepared with canola oil), 4 oz grilled chicken with ground ginger
  • ½ brown rice, 1 cup asparagus (sauteed with olive oil) 4 oz wild salmon with lemon, capers and thyme
  • ½ cup quinoa, 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli (roasted with avocado oil), 4 oz grilled tofu with turmeric and smoked paprika

Now it’s your turn! Create your own table to breeze through your week with the magic of meal prep.  If this seems complicated, we have you covered.  Schedule a meal-prep planning session with one of our Registered Dietitians.  

Tools and Supplies

Tools and Supplies

Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need for prepping, cooking, and storage.

  • Large pots and saute pans, large baking/roasting sheet pans
  • Cooking utensils, knives, measuring cups
  • Large casserole dish
  • Meal prep’s best friend is a slow-cooker: Crock-Pot or Instant Pot.
  • Food Processor
  • Food containers to maximize convenience and minimize hassle.  Glass containers are a great option. When choosing containers, consider ones that are:
    • Reusable and dishwasher safe, and microwaveable safe if planning to heat
    • Well sealed to prevent leaks if there are liquids, such as salad dressings added to your meal
    • Able to keep food odors locked in
    • Easy to use and portable
    • BPA-free

Step 2: Schedule day(s) of the week

Choose which day(s) you will 1) plan your menu and meals, 2) write out a grocery list, 3) grocery shop, and 4) cook and prepare the meals. This may be done all in the same day or broken up between a couple days. Do whatever is manageable for you!

Step 3: Plan your menu and meals for the week (or month!)  

First, take inventory of your fridge, freezer and cupboard.  Try to use up leftovers and ingredients you already have — focus on utilizing items about to expire — because you don’t waste food.

Another hassle-free (and fun!) idea is to follow themed meal days such as: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday, Stir Fry Friday, Slow Cooker Saturday, or pick your favorite meal for [insert favorite dish here] Sunday. Themed meals takes the guesswork out and you can choose any day of the week to schedule it a theme.  Need help making sure you are choosing healthy recipes? Check out the Healthy Eating Plate as a simple reference on eating nutritiously. Or schedule a counseling session with one of our B.Komplete Registered Dietitians.

Step 4: Grocery list & shopping

Plan to scale up the recipe so that it will last you a couple days of dinner and/or lunch. Or you can freeze to have another week.  Again, making sure to account for items you already have on hand, create a grocery list. And then, go grocery shopping! Another benefit of using a grocery list is that it will help save time and money and reduce impulse purchases!

You can use already formatted lists like this one to the right (which you can type directly into it, or print it out to hand-write). Another fantastic option is to use a note keeping app for your phone or computer like Google Keep.

Step 5: Meal prep time

There is no one method for meal prep. So do what works for you. You can cook and assemble the entire meal or just prep some of the ingredients (eg. chopping veggies, cooking rice and pasta).

Methods

  • Buffet-Style. Prepare ingredients separately. The protein, veggies, and grains can be mixed and matched in meals throughout the week. If you are looking for a little more guidance with this method, the meal prep formula table above is the perfect tool.
    • Ideas: Steam or roast few of your favorite veggies. Then cook some rice or quinoa. And bake chicken or salmon.  Finally, mix-and-match ingredients for a balanced and nutritious dinner.
  • No-cook assembly. This is a great option when using a slow-cooker.  Chop ingredients and throw together in a container or freezer bag to store in fridge or freezer.   Then when you are ready to prepare the meal, just empty the bag into crock-pot. Easy peasy.
    • Ideas for no-cook assembly (and batch-cooking): veggie chili, stews and soups
 
  • Batch-cooking.  Basically, this when you prepare larger quantities of food to last several meals/days. With this method, you’ll cook the entire meal. Now when 6:00 PM on Wednesday rolls around, you just heat and eat.

Step 6: Storage

Storage is the final step (before eating!) and is critical to maximizing the benefits of meal prep. Also a key factor and in food safety.  Make sure you have plenty of large containers if you plan on batch-cooking.  Additionally you will need large freezer bags, and containers in a variety of sizes.

When prepping lunches, portion meals into containers you can just grab and go during the week.  It’s a sure way to enjoy a good lunch break during a busy work day!

Written by Meghan E. Smith, Dietetic Intern

Leave us a comment below and tell us how you incorporate meal prep into your week or share your S.M.A.R.T. goal!

Nutrition and Food

Healthy Hydration Hacks

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We all know that drinking water is a good – and essential – thing to do.  But how much do we need to drink?  And, besides water, what are the best beverages and foods to hydrate us?  And, what is the most convenient and delicious way to flavor water?  We have you covered in this post – our top tips for healthy hydration hacks!

Hack #1: How Much Water Do We Need?

Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, your age, how active you are and where you live.  No single formula fits everyone. Knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

Hack #2: Besides Water, What Fluids Hydrate Well?

While water reigns supreme for hydration, and can do the trick almost every time, we all get tired of just drinking water.  There are quite a few additional beverages you can add to your list for hydration helpers.

  • Milk.  Whether you pick dairyalmondcashew or soy, milk can provide an excellent source of hydration.  Look for varieties with no-added sugar.  Milk is a good post-workout drink as it can provide protein and carbohydrate which is needed for your muscles.  In one study, drinking (dairy) milk helped people retain a third of the fluid they consumed over a two-hour follow-up period, and remain hydrated for over four hours.  In this study the researchers found that milk was better than water for re-hydration, and is more effective at countering dehydration.
  • Sparkling Water.  Just adding a little fizz can make water more interesting.  While sparkling water may not be ideal pre-, during or post-workout, it is a great option for when you are going out and need to reduce the alcohol you are drinking.  Sparkling water can be great with meals and snacks during the day.  There are some delicious commercial options, and you can DIY at home.
  • Tea.  Whether you like black, green or herbal, tea can help with your hydration goals.  Teas that are caffeine-free are better at hydration versus those with caffeine.  There are countless ways to enjoy tea, you can enjoy a RTD variety like Honest Tea or Pure Leaf (look for the unsweetened varieties), loose leaf or bag teas, and sachets with tea.  Our favorite herbal teas include Yogi Tea’s Lemon Ginger, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.  
  • Coconut Water.  In really hot and humid weather or in a workout when you sweat a lot, you could need a little hydration with some added electrolytes.  Electrolytes are minerals that our bodies need to maintain balance and include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Coconut water provides potassium and sodium.  Look for a brand that has no added sugar varieties like Harmless Harvest and Zico.  You can get electrolytes through fruits and vegetables also like bananas, melon, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and beets.  
  • Juice.  Juice is hydrating, and to lower the sugar content you can dilute with water.  Fresh juice is a good option, and may not have added sugar.  Check out BluePrint for some wholesome juice options.  All foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle.  If you are not sure how much sugar to be consuming, we can help you.  Email us at info@bkomplete.com to schedule a session with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. 

Hack #3: Flavor Your Water

Making water more “fun” is easier than ever to do.  You can slice up your favorite fruit – orange, lemon, strawberry – and add to your water bottle or glass.  For a savory twist, try sliced cucumber and lemon in your water – delicious, refreshing, and a little different.  

Another option that we love at B.Komplete is to flavor our water with Stur Water Enhancer.  Our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Boldy Blue and Blackberry.  Just a few squirts, and your water will take on a vibrant flavor and color.  Your kids will like this too!  Using Stur is the perfect way to encourage a picky drinker to enjoy water.  

Hack #4: Hydrate with a Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious way to add nutrients and hydration into your diet.  A smoothie can be as simple as throwing some ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blending until smooth – to as complex as adding ancient grains, fresh herbs, and organic protein powder to make a masterpiece (but, will that taste good?!).  Our tips for the most hydrating ingredients to add into your smoothie include: water, any unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, cashew or soy), veggies (try spinach, cucumber, celery or kale), and – of course – fruit (try oranges, berries, and melon).  Check out our recipe for a scrumptious Pineapple Smoothie and visit the Green Blender Recipe Blog for several hydrating smoothie recipes.  

Whichever options you try, let us know in the comments below!  The most important thing is to stay hydrated, in a healthy way, all year round.  If you find it hard to remember to drink water, perhaps add it as a reminder in your calendar/phone each hour.  Healthy hydration is the foundation for physical and mental activity.

Nutrition and Food

What are Pre and Probiotics?

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Many of us have heard the word “probiotics.” In fact, many of us would even be able to associate probiotics with our gut or stomach. But what do they do? How do they help our stomach and digestion, and what the heck are prebiotics?

Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help to keep our gut healthy.  Probiotics help with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immune function.   Probiotics are found in fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, and kimchi.   Probiotics can also be found in dairy products such as yogurt.  One reason why we are encouraged to eat more yogurt, (how many of us have watched Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis?) and certain soft, fermented cheese. Probiotics are now being manufactured into supplement form.  

Prebiotics are fiber, that basically work as a ‘fertilizer’ for the probiotics. Meaning, while the probiotics, or “good bacteria,” is working it’s way into the gut, prebiotics are helping the probiotics multiply, grow, and improve the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Interestingly, the body doesn’t digest prebiotics. It simply utilizes them to propagate probiotics in the digestive system.

Although both pre and probiotics work together to improve gut health, they are not found in the same foods. If you’re looking to add both to your diet without utilizing food sources, both can be found in supplement form.  However, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ on the B.Komplete Team strongly recommend food first – before supplements.  Dietary supplements are not tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like medications. And the probiotic strains in the supplements may not be specific for the condition you’re looking to treat.  Always tell your Physician what you are doing that may affect your health, and schedule an appointment with a RDN on our team.

Foods Rich in Probiotics

Yogurt: is the number one source of probiotics. However, this only applies if the label says “active live cultures.” Any pasteurization or sterilization can kill the bacteria and then there’s no good bacteria.

Sauerkraut: Also known as lacto-fermented cabbage. When unpasteurized, contains Lactobacillus bacteria (good bacteria). In this state, it contains more probiotics than yogurt.

Miso Soup: A very popular item on a Japanese restaurant menu, this soup is made with miso paste, an Asian seasoning made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, barley, brown rice and several other grains with a fungus, Aspergillus oryzae.  Miso is a healthy, probiotic food that helps support digestion by adding beneficial microorganisms to your digestive tract.

Kefir: Similar to yogurt, there’s kefir, a fermented and cultured beverage, with a characteristic tart taste. For those with a dairy intolerance, kefir can be a good choice. Interestingly enough, a study done by Ohio State University, found that drinking kefir can reduce gas and bloating brought on by lactose consumption by almost 70%.

Pickles: Cucumbers that have been “pickled” in a solution of salt and water, using their own lactic acid bacteria, they are left to ferment, which turns them sour and a source of probiotics. Pickles are a good source of vitamin K too, although they are high in sodium, something to watch out for.

Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Asparagus: Great source of prebiotics with roughly 5% fiber by weight.  Check out this delicious recipe for asparagus salad or this recipe for an asparagus frittata

Legumes:  A great sources of protein and iron. Common legumes include; lentils, kidneys, and chickpeas. Legumes have the right amount of fiber to boost healthy gut flora.

Jerusalem Artichoke: Interestingly, Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with artichoke, with the exception of its heart’s flavor. Jerusalem artichoke is loaded with prebiotics as well as potassium and iron.  And they are easy to prepare!

Bananas: A convenient food, that has fiber and potassium.  

Oats: Healthy grains with the added bonus of prebiotics. Oats contain beta-glucan fiber, which is what increases healthy gut bacteria, as well as antioxidants, which means they have anti-inflammatory effects.

How Much Do You Need?

At present, the verdict is out on exactly how much we need to consume, however some of the regulatory and scientific groups have put forward, per day figures of:

  • Dietary fiber: 25-38 grams

If you are not used to eating a diet that is rich in fiber, start slowly.  Try adding 1 new food each day for a week that provides a good source of fiber.  You can gradually increase each week.  

We truly hope this blog post was helpful, and inspires you to add a source of pre and/or probiotic fiber into your daily food plan.  Here at B.Komplete we believe in a healthy and balanced approach to eating.  Let us know in the comment section what you try!

Corporate Wellness

How to Avoid a “Food Coma” After Lunch

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So you’ve had a busy morning and it’s time for lunch. For many people, work lunches involve buying food from the company cafeteria, or heading out to one of the many eateries that cater to the workweek lunch crowd. Taking your full lunch break is a great way to decompress and prepare for the work in the afternoon (see our blog on how to do the business lunch healthfully), but there is one outcome every productive worker wants to avoid: the food coma.

The “Food Coma” which is so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online in 2014, is that feeling of sleepiness that overtakes people after a big meal. You may know it by a different name like “the itis,” or “after dinner dip,” but you probably haven’t heard of the technical term: “postprandial somnolence.”  We most commonly think of it happening after big holiday meals (like Thanksgiving) but a food coma after lunch can ruin afternoon productivity. So how can we all prevent the food coma…

Don’t go too big. 

A study in young men tested whether a low or high calorie lunch would have a greater impact on sleepiness during a monotonous drive (don’t worry, the drive was in a simulator). Researchers found that the larger meal caused a much greater lull in attentiveness and trend toward greater sleepiness compared to the smaller meal.

TipPack your lunch the night before, or make sure to exercise your ordering skills at a restaurant to ensure your meal is less calorie dense. Use the Healthy Dining Finder to locate a restaurant with healthy options near you, or check out some of B. Komplete’s healthy ordering tips for business lunches.

Keep those carbohydrates complex. 

One theory for feeling sleepy after meals has to do with the amount and types of carbohydrates we eat. There is evidence that eating easily digestible simple carbohydrates (like white flour and sugary desserts) causes sleepiness by increasing blood sugar and subsequent insulin production. That increase in insulin production happens concurrently with increases in hormones like melatonin which causes sleepiness, and inhibition of orexin neurons which help maintain wakefulness. Multiple studies show greater sleepiness and earlier onset of sleep with meals higher refined and total carbohydrate. 

TipTry to keep your post-meal surge in blood sugar slow and controlled by choosing healthy, complex forms of carbohydrates like whole grains. Also be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables that add healthy fiber and slow the digestion of carbohydrate in the gut.

Avoid high fat meals. 

A study done in over 700 Australian men found that those who ate diets higher in fat reported experiencing greater daytime sleepiness than those with lower fat intake.  

TipKeep your lunch light on the grease! Heavier, fatty foods like pizza and burgers might just exacerbate your post-meal lull. Also consider the type of fat you eat. Typical fast food often contains lots of saturated fat, the fat we typically consider less healthy. Instead, choose foods full of healthy unsaturated fats like guacamole, or a salad with a vinegar and olive oil, nuts and seeds.  

Get a good night’s sleep.

The experience of a “afternoon dip” doesn’t have everything to do with your meal. At least some of this post-lunch sleepiness is due to natural fluctuations of your circadian rhythm which can be exacerbated by the content of your meals. However, another major factor for your desire for an afternoon nap? Sleep debt. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived and you’re much less likely to feel energized after lunch if you didn’t get enough sleep the previous night. Poor sleep is also associated with poor food choices, which can exacerbate the food coma, creating a vicious cycle…  

TipSet an alarm not just for the morning, but for bedtime and hold yourself to it! Ensuring you get enough sleep will not only help you stake wakeful throughout the workday, but will also help you make healthy food choices at lunch!

It might feel great to take a nap after a satisfying meal, but this isn’t an option when you’re busy at work. Prioritizing healthy, light lunches and adequate sleep at nighttime can help you maintain your productivity and prevent the dreaded food coma.

However, if you’re like many Americans, you have a hectic work day and prioritizing healthful behaviors can be difficult. Check out B.Komplete’s post on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule!