The practice of law often involves long hours at a desk reviewing agreements, conducting diligence, or drafting complaints or memos. Often, many legal professionals make sacrifices for the sake of convenience and efficiency in an attempt to shorten a long workday or power through a tough week. A study conducted by the Forum for Health Economics and Policy found that working long weeks could have a detrimental effect on health by increasing the obesity rate due to three types of behavior:
- Substituting meals prepared at home for fast or processed food
- Decreasing time spent exercising and
- Reducing sleep. Of these three factors, the easiest for attorneys to address is likely improving eating habits.
While it can be hard to squeeze in a workout or additional sleep while fighting to reach that billable hours goal, substituting processed food for healthier options is a great first step. Healthier snack options can help to improve personal health, and boost energy levels to help legal professionals make it through that three-hour client call. Taking a little time to stock up on the following snacks can have a positive impact on any attorney's practice (and their waistline).
High Protein Snacks
High fat foods, while delicious, often take more work to digest, and foods high in sugar can cause a brief spike in energy followed by a sharp crash. Snacks high in protein provide the body with a longer-lasting source of energy than carbohydrates like sugars. A few great protein-heavy snacks include foods like almonds, pistachios, jerky, eggs, string cheese, hummus, and yogurt. Nuts like almonds are often calorie-dense and full of protein, and a small serving can provide lawyers with the nutrition they need to get through that deposition. Other sources of protein like string cheese are also helpful for keeping blood sugar levels steady. The chickpeas found in hummus also provide calcium, iron, and fiber in addition to protein, and can be paired with a variety of vegetables like carrots.
While reaching for a candy bar can be a tempting way to reward oneself for finishing reviewing that merger agreement, there are healthier alternatives that can provide the right amount of sugar to balance out a proper diet. In particular, fruits like blueberries, bananas, and strawberries can provide enough glucose for an attorney's brain to perform at its best. Pairing fruits like apples with peanut or almond butter creates a snack that provides a great mix of fiber, carbs, monounsaturated far, and protein! In fact, the New York Times has reported that fruits can also provide tons of antioxidants, and fiber that helps one feel full and slows absorption of fructose to a healthy pace. Fruit consumption has also been found in observational studies to be positively tied to lower body weight and lowered risk of obesity-related diseases.
Staying Hydrated is Important Too!
It can be easy to forget that the body needs multiple glasses of water a day when the drink of choice at most law firms (at least during office hours) is coffee. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have determined an adequate daily intake for men is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day, and women require 11.5 cups (2.7 liters). Staying hydrated is an easy and inexpensive way to maintain energy levels. While energy drinks may provide a tempting boost of energy, relying on drinks full of caffeine, sugar, and other stimulants can mask the symptoms of fatigue and further dehydrate the body. While it can be tempting to unwind with a beer or five after work, remember that excessive alcohol consumption can have serious health consequences like liver damage, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Though alcohol consumption can have some possible health benefits, it may be better to play it safe as lawyers experience alcohol use disorders at over twice the national rate according to the American Bar Association. Drinking enough water, and taking advantage of wholesome snack options can help improve any legal professional's productivity, energy, and overall health.