What CEOs Eat: How Your Diet Can Fuel Your Career

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Diet

The foods that we decide to put into our body have a major impact on how we feel and act throughout the day. And, while it’s tempting to indulge in a sweet, unhealthy snack once in a while, maintaining a regular, nutritious diet can be a major part of your success. CEOs and professional athletes alike work hard to develop beneficial eating habits as leading a healthy life can make you feel more productive and motivated. From protein shakes to plant-based eating, these are some of the top healthy habits of CEOs that you can integrate into your daily diet.

The Importance of a Healthy Diet

There are many different types of diets and guidelines you can follow to develop a routine that works for you. Not all diets work for every body type, so it’s important to experiment with habits to see what’s most beneficial based on your goals and level of physical activity.

An essential part to every healthy diet is consuming a lot of fruits and veggies and eliminating unhealthy and unnecessary things like foods with saturated fats and highly processed sugars. For some, a plant-based diet with little to no meat works. But, it’s necessary to incorporate other foods high in protein like quinoa and legumes.

Following a nutritious diet has a nearly endless list of benefits–from lowering stress levels and blood pressure to weight loss and improved sleeping habits. In terms of physical health, a good diet can also reduce the risk of cancer by incorporating high amounts of antioxidants, which may help prevent damage from unstable molecules leading to cancer. Eating healthy makes you feel more energized and, combined with a regular workout routine, can improve the conditions of people struggling with mental disorders like depression and anxiety. 

Smoothies and Protein Shakes

The common phrase that names breakfast the most important meal of the day has merit. It’s important to provide your body with energy early in the day, and eating a healthy breakfast can actually jump start your metabolism, making it work quicker throughout the day. Many successful people integrate healthy veggie- and fruit-heavy smoothies along with protein shakes.

If you’re not into adding protein to your smoothies, you should incorporate some other source of protein in the morning such as eggs for additional energy to power through the day. Brad Lande, the CEO of Birch box Man, begins his day with a smoothie made with a coconut water base, fruits and veggies (like blueberries and kale), as well as an added dash of bee pollen.

Incorporate Fatty Fish into Meals

Fish can be an excellent source of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which has been proven to improve eye health, reduce the risk of heart disease, boost HDL cholesterol (also known as “good cholesterol”) and cut down on artery plaque, among other benefits. Martha Stewart is a huge proponent of eating fatty fishes. In fact, she tries to lead a pescatarian lifestyle, eating mainly fish as her source of meat along with other foods high in good fats like olive oil and nuts for the anti-inflammatory properties and improved brain health.

Limit Sugar Intake

A key aspect to most healthy eating lifestyles, limiting sugar intake is important because processed sugar has no nutritional value and can add a lot of unnecessary calories. For anyone trying to lose weight, this step is especially important because you need to burn more calories than you consume. Finding areas where you can cut down on calorie intake that has no benefit is essential.

Highly processed sugars can cause heart and kidney disease, increase blood sugar levels and the chance of developing diabetes, along with unwanted skin conditions like acne. While avoiding sugary items like soda and desserts is obvious, many other foods include hidden sugars that you might not realize without examining the ingredients.

The daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. To put this in perspective, a single can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, putting women at nearly twice the daily intake and men just past one day’s worth of sugar. Occasionally indulging in a sugary treat is okay, but you should avoid making this a habit as too much sugar can also lead to feelings of lethargy and a sugar crash later in the day.

Oprah Winfrey is one major advocate for cutting sugar out of your diet. Winfrey has struggled with weight gain for much of her life. She overcame this obstacle by developing habits that help her to balance an extremely successful career and a regular exercise routine complemented by her healthy eating habits. 

Plant-Based Diet

There are dozens of successful CEOs who stay inshape by following a plant-based diet, which avoids meat. Instead, they obtain nutrients from other sources like fruits, veggies, legumes, whole wheats and grains. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, founder of the Huffington PostArianna Huffington and Michelle Obama are just a few influential people who either eat an entirely plant-based or mostly plant-based diet.

Many people who switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet claim to feel more energized while also benefiting from other factors like reduced risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, decreased chance of diabetes, weight loss and a lower overall BMI (body mass index).

One factor to keep in mind when swapping your meat-centric diet for a plant-based one is that you need to track your source of nutrients more closely as it can be difficult to get enough protein when first cutting meat out.

Protein Cookies

Protein is one of the most vital macronutrients our bodies need to function properly because nearly every part of our body is comprised of the amino acids that make up protein. Protein shakes are one great way to supplement your daily intake, but it can be boring drinking the same flavored shake every day. Instead, switch it up like businessman and investor Mark Cuban, who claims to indulge in protein cookies regularly.