by sonja thorsvik

Nutrition Hacks For Freelancers To Boost Your Productivity

Something we often forget about (especially when life gets chaotic) is the core reason that we actually need food. We commonly use it as a filler or a second thought to get us through our days, when really, it should be seen as two things: our main source of fuel and also a source of joy!

If you’ve ever found yourself getting through the day on endless cups of black coffee, a few hangry handfuls of peanut butter-filled pretzels, and Starbucks sous vide egg bites… you might not be experiencing the full benefits of choosing the right foods for more energy levels and more productivity. (Okay fine, those egg bites are actually pretty good and not really bad for you in terms of “fast” food, but only when partnered with other nourishing, balanced meals throughout the day.)

Time Magazine talked about how calories affect our brainpower said: “While the brain represents just 2% of a person’s total body weight, it accounts for 20% of the body’s energy use,” distinguished professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Dr. Marcus Raichle’s research has found.

The article continued, “That means during a typical day, a person uses about 320 calories just to think. Different mental states and tasks can subtly affect the way the brain consumes energy.”

The brain NEEDS proper caloric fuel to function optimally, and further, it needs well-balanced, nutritious meals and hydration in order for us to excel. While I’m not a registered dietitian or medical professional and can’t give medical advice, I have found a few food and meal habits that help to optimize my day and supercharge my energy.

Take the ones you like and leave the ones you don’t; either way, I hope some of these nutrition hacks help you find the power and joy in fueling your body every day with the right foods.

01. Learn How To Cook

This is the age of endless information. There is nothing sexier than someone who knows how to cook, and how to cook healthy & well. Think of the amount of food we as humans consume each and every single day from the day we are born to the day we die. It’s massive! And I for one think it should be healthy and delicious. If you want to learn how to cook, start with a food podcast, or follow a chef on YouTube or even ask for a family recipe and swap out better-for-you ingredients if needed. Mmm, now I’m getting hungry.

Back when I was first learning how to really cook on my own and didn’t have a lot of resources (money, cooking tools, space) I learned through the Food & Wine Magazine. I would anxiously wait for my copy to come in the mail, pop a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck red wine, and skim the pages until I started drooling over something that looked amazing to me. I would bookmark the recipe, save my pennies, go buy all the ingredients, and cook that meal for me and my friends. And then the whole process would happen again next month.

The reason learning how to cook is a nutrition hack is because when you source your own ingredients, and then cook you know exactly what’s going into your meals. There’s a vast difference between cooking a meal with healthy fats and beautiful quality ingredients for your family vs. ordering something from a restaurant that probably has way too much salt, mystery ingredients that you might be allergic or intolerant to, and a comes with a side of french fries that you don’t actually need. When you are in charge of your health, you are more powerful. Remember Health = Wealth.

02. Eat Foods That Are Wild [not processed]

“Junk food.” We all know it. And I’d venture to guess we’ve all had our… um, moments with it. If you’re a serial snacker or a drive-through frequenter, there’s absolutely no shame. I get it—those options are often the easiest, quickest way to fill up on something before you head off to your next 20 to-dos!

But, foods that are high in saturated and trans fat only slow you down and deplete your energy, making you feel sluggish for the remainder of the day. Go back and re-read that sentence, please. And high-sugar foods (which usually fast food is) give you a quick boost before a crash… and we don’t have time for a crash.

I try not to totally restrict myself or have completely off-limits foods because that can be a harmful mindset, too. And truly, everything is fine in moderation. But for day-to-day upgrades, try stocking your snack drawer/fridge with high-protein, healthy-fats-filled foods from the actual wild world that is nature! Some favorites of mine: almonds & macadamia nuts, bars with just a few ingredients like Larabars, jerky, hummus, nut butter, or dried or fresh fruit. As for quick meal fixes, instead of another frozen-to-microwave dinner, try out an easy meal delivery service like Daily Harvest that delivers super quick and easy-to-prep (oh, and delish) meals.

03. Start The Day On The Right Foot

For me, I need to start the day feeling hydrated & fueled, and that means getting something nutritious in my body.

Hydration: Immediately when I wake up I drink at least 30 ounces of water. Why 30? Well, that’s because that’s how big my water bottle is, and who needs to actually think about anything complicated the second you rise? Ideally, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. [Example you weigh 140lbs you should drink 70 ounces of water a day. So get a water bottle that’s 35 ounces, and drink 2 bottles a day: Done! Easy!]

Fueled: For breakfast, it’s best to keep things simple, and nourishing, and that feeds your body and your brain (remember, your brain will take 20% of the calories just thinking! #brainfood). Here are some of my favorite, easy, and healthy breakfast ideas:

  • A smoothie (a tasty, filling, and energizing recipe is: 1 handful kale/spinach, ½ frozen banana, 6 strawberries, 1 tbsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. peanut/almond butter, 1 cup oat/almond milk, 1 scoop plant-based protein powder, spirulina, and collagen powder)
  • Organic Rolled Oats with almond milk, cinnamon, and fresh blueberries
  • 2 Eggs, Ezekiel Bread, Ghee, Avocado, Spinach, Dill, and Sea Salt

04. Incorporate Adaptogens



Adaptogens are a select group of herbs (and some mushrooms) that support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress. Pretty cool right? They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. Like Magic!

Here are some you might already know and be eating:

  • Rosemary
  • Ginseng
  • Aloe Vera
  • Licorice

And a few that you might not:

  • Ashwagandha (my favorite)
  • Bacopa
  • Gotu Kola
  • Reishi Mushroom (also fantastic!)

You probably have seen some of these in drinks, teas, and even in powder form to add to smoothies. For example, I add in Ashwagandha to my smoothie in the morning and I swear it removes any brain fog I may have. And I add rosemary to a lot of foods I cook for dinner. Easy.

Researchers from the Swedish Herbal Institute confirm adaptogens work at a cellular level. “Studies on isolated neuronal cells have revealed that adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and CNS stimulating activity.” Did you read that? You’ll feel more alert & less stressed, which will lead you to a more confident you!

So for you hard-working go-getters who need a little boost to your day, I’d highly recommend you incorporate adaptogens into your daily routine. 

It may take a little bit of extra planning ahead, but fueling your body with real food and nourishing it often is worth it. Your energy levels and productivity will flourish when you start treating food as something to enjoy and to sustain your brain and body rather than a nuisance or afterthought. 





I started my own entrepreneurial career in 2012 scaling up from $0 a year to over $100,000 each and every year. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe there are ways for all of us self-employed entrepreneurs to reach six-figures and beyond and I'm unapologetically here to show you how I do it so you can make your next best move. Let's go.

foUNDER of gigging for gold
i like my coffee black

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