I know what’s in your bottom desk drawer. Or maybe on your desk. Or in the cubbie above your head (should you be so lucky as to garner a cubbie).
But I’m not going to say what.
First, a story about last week!
Last week I was in the middle of getting my kids through their afternoon homework routine and I suddenly remembered: “I have a class to teach tonight!”
A class. To teach. Tonight.
(Three guesses what my next thought was.)
I don’t know how it had slipped my mind, but I had totally forgotten to put the class on my calendar.
I had also forgotten to let my husband know.
So, there I am, running around trying to get my stuff together- papers, bag, phone, markers for the flip chart. I was also simultaneously trying to explain and apologize to my husband about the mistake. (He’s a kind man- he admitted to frustration, but was full of support.)
And then I remember: I have no gas in the car.
I’m late. For a class I forgot I was teaching. And dumping the night routine on my husband. And I have to find an extra five minutes to get gas.
Things just keep getting better.
I start doing the “get gas / don’t get gas” computations in my head.
Do I have enough gas to get to the place where I’m teaching? (Maybe?)
Can I just coast there? (Maybe.)
Are there any gas stations around so I can fill up afterwards? (Memory, don’t fail me now…yes?)
Do I want to fill up afterwards? (Not really.)
Can I get enough gas in 2.6 minutes to make it there and back? (Probably!)
How can I save 2.6 in order to get to the gas station? (Only god knows…)
My bag gets filled, my hair gets brushed, and I make it out the front door with 2.6 minutes to spare.
Now, I’m the kind of gal that buys the cheap gas.
I don’t pay the extra 10 cents for the upgraded stuff.
This is in part because I drive an old car (she’s got low miles, but she wasn’t born in this century). And in part because my mechanic takes good care of her.
And in part because cheap gas fits my budget (natch).
I rolled up to the gas station and pumped the cheap gas into my car. Just enough to get there and back. Just enough to keep my schedule on track.
It worked. It was fine.
Taught the class. Got home and back. Job done.
Back to your bottom drawer at work. Or your desk. Or your cubbie. Or the cupboard in the kitchenette.
You keep a box of cereal there, don’t you?
And a nice Styrofoam bowl. (Is it an oxymoron to say “nice Styrofoam?”)
And a spoon.
Because some days your morning looks like this:
You have to make it out the door with 2.6 minutes to spare.
The kids are not dressed.
It’s oh-dark-thirty and you need to get out for the early meeting- or the early day.
You can’t find the shoes, or the keys, or your work bag. (F word, anyone?)
So you start doing the “eat breakfast / don’t eat breakfast” computations.
Do I have enough time for breakfast? (Are you joking?)
What could I eat? (There’s that dry oatmeal I could put in the microwave…or the old yogurt.)
Can I just coast until lunch? (Munchies!)
I could pick up something on the way. (Brilliant! But you have no time, remember?)
So that’s why there’s a box of cereal near your desk. (Truth be told, it might also be Pop Tarts or a bag of chips, or extra change for the soda machine, right?)
I just want to tell you: it’s fine if breakfast doesn’t happen until you get to work.
Or until 10:30 in the morning.
That is fine.
What isn’t working is what you’re eating.
It’s something with a little sweetness to it, right? Maybe a marshmallow, or chocolate, or a ‘carmel nut’ in it?
Don’t eat that.
It’s cheap gas.
It’s only getting you from here to there. It’s only letting you coast through the morning.
What you need is something that will take you through your day- your meetings, your work, your entirely-too-long email Inbox. You need long-term energy.
Here is what you want and need in a good breakfast that will keep you going through to lunch (whenever that may be):
- You want something with fiber. Like, lots of it. We’re talking at least 8 grams per serving (as a baseline).
- You want protein. Again, lots of it: 7 grams or more per serving.
- You want a little fat. (I’m not joking!) Just a little will give you more energy over the course of the day.
Fiber will give you immediate energy, but not with the sugar boost that makes you crash later. Protein will help you feel full and provide energy up until lunch. Fat does the same, with slightly longer-term energy benefits.
I know, you want taste, too. I understand. It’s only fair. Go for taste!
I suggest you take a few minutes at the market and find a cereal that has these components. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a new cereal every couple of weeks until you find one you like.
- Anything made by Kashi. Look for their high-protein options.
- A combo of multi-grain Cheerios and Fiber One.
- Oatmeal with milk, brown sugar, and pecans. (Totally workable in the office microwave.)
- Eat half of what you already use, but add a banana and some almonds.
Keeping some ‘gas’ in your bottom drawer at work is a really smart idea (well done, you!). Just make sure it’s the upgraded stuff. When you feed yourself the good stuff, your body will work better- and so will you.