Last Updated on 14 November 2019

You’re nearly ready for next week’s problem solving session…
× Problem clearly defined and the objectives of the day outlined? Check.
× Silly-Puddy, Play-Doh, and Slinkys? Check.
× Flip charts, colored markers, Post-It notes? Check.

But what about snacks, drinks, and lunch?

Hold on before before you order a dozen pizzas, twice as many Red Bull, and a tub of Red Vines… If you really want maximize the most important part of your problem solving machine – your brains… Re-write your menu with this food for thought.


Skip the Skittles, instead try these energy sustaining treats.

  • Nuts and Seeds – Not a can of roasted, salted, honey-coated nuts… but the stuff from nature… Provide pumpkin seeds, toasted soy nuts and natural almonds.
  • Fruits – Serve fresh berries, whole or sliced apples, pears and oranges. Consider dried apricots, raisins and figs. Bananas are good too, for quick energy that’ll last up to two hours. Offer vanilla yogurt with ginger powder mixed in for a dip or side.
  • Vegetables – Offer carrot sticks, broccoli, and slices of red pepper. Keep them on crushed ice through the day for a fresher flavor. Serve with hummus as a dip or side.


Stop the pop and sugary drinks and enjoy natural fruit-based beverages. I call them Creative Juices.

We live in a wonderful time when fresh, additive-free juices from around the world are readily available at the grocery store. The shorter the shelf life, the better it is going to be for you. Also drink plenty of water. (And plan a couple more bathroom breaks.)


Hold the lunchmeat. Instead of piling in a big lunch at noon, consider snacks through the day. This will prevent a lull or spike in energy, and the sleepiness when your body tries to process a big meal.

More Ideas…

  • Eat breakfast– You’ve heard it a million times, because it is true. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Oatmeal is tops. Instead of store bought packets, make your own.In a tall bowl, mix 1/4 cup oats, 2 oz water, 2 oz milk (or soy milk), raisins, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, ground flax/linseed, and a dash of cinnamon. Microwave for 3 minutes stirring each minute. Top with a spoonful of honey and enjoy!
  • Get plenty of sleep – Mom was right, you need a good night’s sleep. Before a day of heavy idea lifting, recharge your brain with plenty of rest.
  • This Idea Stinks – The scent of peppermint can make you more alert. Bring in a couple of jars of aromatherapy peppermint oil and encourage a sniff now and then. Have your team put few drops on a cotton ball to whiff once in a while… it’s almost like having a personal spa!

Why does this work?

As described in Eat Yourself Clever by Carol Vorderman, The best fuel for brain power are carbohydrate foods… carbs. It’s about eating good carbs that are natural and unrefined (a.k.a. complex). Complex carbs are found in grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. These are broken down slowly and provide a steady stream of energy.

Refined and processed carbohydrates are those found in processed foods. The body breaks these down quickly, so you do get a quick hit of energy. But this sugar rush is quickly replaced by a sugar crash. As described by Vorderman, “When the glucose is used up and you suddenly feel exhausted and irritable, ‘running on empty.’ And of course, that state is disastrous for your mental focus.”

This is all measured by what is called the glycaemic index, or GI for short. Consider this a speedometer for the pace the body breaks food down to glucose, and enters the bloodstream. Vorderman states, “glucose has a value of 100 and water 0. Any food with a GI below around 50 will thus be a good choice if you want high levels of concentration, focus, and alertness.”