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9 Reasons Cooking Advice Belongs on a Productivity Blog

9 Reasons Cooking Advice Belongs on a Productivity Blog
Chef

    There are plenty of obvious topics for a blog focused on making your life easier: time management tips, career advice and even a little personal finance information. But cooking advice doesn’t immediately come to mind. Considering how much time we each spend daily on eating — let alone eating healthily and cheaply — I think a little cooking advice could be very productive, and I’ve got nine good reasons why.

    1. Good nutrition makes for a productive mind. When we’re busy, we eat poorly: vending machines, fast food, etc. But we often wind up more tired with each bite. Learning a bit about cooking and nutrition can steer us towards food that can help us think better, as well as takes minimal effort to prepare. While nutritional information doesn’t show up on many productivity blogs, even a few tips on the meals that can help us get through the work day are relevant.
    2. Cooking saves money. Eating at restaurants or picking up prepared food costs money — significantly more than you would pay for ingredients, and often more than the cost of labor can explain. Cooking (especially from scratch) allows you to not only cut out the cost of labor, but to plan meals around inexpensive ingredients. Other costs factor in as well: travel to and from the restaurant, drinks (I’ve seen places charging $2 for essentially a can of soda, not to mention the cost of alcohol), and the tip for the server.
    3. Making a meal can actually be faster than ordering one. If I order a pizza, it can take 30 minutes for that meal to make it to my door. If I actually have to leave my office or home to pick up food, it can take significantly longer. But I can name off hundreds of meals that I can make in under 10 minutes as long as I have the ingredients in my kitchen (omelet, pasta, sandwich, salad and many more). I can even bake cookies in less than 20 minutes if I need a sweet snack.
    4. Being able to cook makes for a relatively inexpensive hobby. While there are a few cooks who need each brand new gadget, cooking, as a rule, is still cheaper than many hobbies. After all, you will still need to buy food whether or not you cook it yourself. And hobbies are good for the brain — being able to step away from work and do something you enjoy can be the best way to make sure that you return to work refreshed and relaxed.
    5. Meal planning makes planning the rest of your schedule easier. You’ll know when to go grocery shopping, when to start dinner and get a better grip on your schedule in general. Everybody has to eat at some point during the day, and there’s no reason to let yourself get out of sorts because you forgot to eat, or ate too much. Furthermore, meal planning can help you keep food expenses down as well as stay on track to eat nutritionally. Personally, it’s also cut the time I spend at the grocery store, trying to decide what to buy, in half. I can get in, get out and get on with far more interesting things on my task list.
    6. Cooking can help you become more environmentally friendly. Say you pick up a bunch of individually prepared meals — Hot Pockets, microwavable burritos, whatever. At minimum, there will be some sort of plastic wrap, but you may also have a box or a plastic bag — a lot of wrappings that go straight in the trash. On the other hand, if you cook, you can use reusable containers and dishes. There are tons of ways to use your kitchen to make your life greener.
    7. Eating right can keep you healthy. All of us who spend a lot of time at the computer worry about staying fit. While it isn’t enough to replacing exercising, eating well can reduce the need to exercise. The difference between working off a burger from McDonalds and a homemade salad is worth a little effort in the kitchen, I think. But we all need a starting point — knowing that eating a few more vegetables isn’t enough to balance most of our diets.
    8. Eating at home saves on gas money. I’d much rather pay for the gas to go to the grocery store once a week than have to worry about filling up to go out to a whole list of restaurants. While I don’t begrudge the gas to go a nice restaurant, the damage to both my wallet and the environment doesn’t seem to be as justified for a trip through the drive-thru, especially if I have to go out several days running. I can also plan my errands and pretty much all of my travel time better if I know where meals fall on my schedule and what I need for each one.
    9. You can cement a relationship with a good meal. There’s a reason that offering to cook for your significant other can make for a special date. Eating is a fairly intimate act — and you can make it more so by cooking the meal. Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones you can help along with a good meal. Cooking for friends or even business contacts can make a lasting impression. I don’t cook for many of my business contacts — but ones that I want to deepen our relationship to friendship beyond the office are often invited to a meal.

    There are so many ways in which a little time spent in the kitchen can help us lead more productive lives. I think cooking has — excuse the pun — earned a spot at the table.

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    How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

    How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

    Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

    But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

    Sight – Visual Stimulation

    The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

    1. Maximize your exposure to light.

    Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

    Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

    2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

    Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

    Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

    Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

    3. Take note of your environment.

    Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

    By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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    Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

    What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

    4. Engage in conversation.

    Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

    Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

    Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

    Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

    5. Listen to upbeat music.

    Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

    Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

    Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

    If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

    6. Work your nose.

    Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

    If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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    Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

    Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

    If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

    7. Have a good breakfast.

    Start off with the most important meal of the day.

    Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

    Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

    Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

    20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

    8. Drink lots of water.

    Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

    So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

    How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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    Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

    3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

    9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

    Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

    Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

    Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

    25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

    Touch – Tactile Stimulation

    Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

    10. Splash cold water on your face.

    Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

    This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

    5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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    11. Use acupressure.

    Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

    Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

    12. Get moving.

    Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

    And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

    You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

    Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

    Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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