The role of a Nurse is ever-changing and any shift can bring a multitude of tasks that can leave you flat out with little time to break for a snack or a meal. It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse and that selflessness can see you putting your clients’ needs before that of your own – and your tummy!
While skipping meals and snacks might be commonplace, it is certainly not advisable nor healthy to go for 6-12 hours without some sustenance. Not only will your blood sugars drop, you can leave a lasting impression on your metabolic state. In the longer term, when we go for long periods of time without eating can leave your body wondering when food will be available again – you might hang on to some body fat to ensure your body is able to sustain itself. In the shorter term, a drop in blood sugars can leave you with a headache, tired, cranky, short-tempered and an inability to concentrate – none of which are ideal for a busy nurse!
While it may be difficult for you to find the time to sit down for an actual meal, you can choose to snack on the go. Canteens and convenience stores generally sell just that – convenience food. This is often lacking in nutrients that will neither nourish nor sustain you. Ideally you are looking at a balanced snack with some good fats, quality protein and some complex carbohydrates. What might this look like? Here are some ideas for some quick snacks you can keep in your pocket or in your locker and grab on the go.
The hydrating crunch of the celery matches superbly with some good quality nut butter. There are a myriad of choices beyond your humble peanut butter. Try almond butter, cashew butter or ABC (almond, brazil, cashew) for something new, or tahini if you have a nut allergy.
A single piece of fruit won’t sustain you for too long, but combining it with some protein will. Try a granny smith apple and 2 fingers worth of unsalted nuts of choice for some nourishing energy.
Frittata is a super easy dish to make, especially if you utilise some leftover veggies.
Whist up some eggs, pour them over some veggies in a baking dish and bake for about 50 minutes. Slice in to portions and wrap individually. Delicious warm or cold, this is an easy snack to take on the go. Even better, cook in to muffins so portion sizes are already taken care of.
Are currently a ‘thing’ and why not? There are many delicious options to choose from so you can tailor them to your taste. Spend some time on your day off making up a batch – they store easily in the fridge or freezer and you can keep a jar on hand in your locker to grab as you need to.
The same concept as bliss balls but generally focused on oats and some extra sweetener to form in to a bar. It’s always a great idea to make your own so you know exactly what you are consuming.
If your workplace kitchen has a blender, why not keep some smoothie ingredients in the fridge? Or else if your unable to access it why not do it before you leave the house? A zip-lock bag with some frozen fruit (think banana, strawberries, mango or grapes) and some fresh or frozen spinach leaves, whizzed up with some coconut water or milk of choice is a delicious and healthful snack. Add a spoonful of nut butter for an added protein hit. If you don’t have a blender at work, whizz it up at home and keep in a sealed container in the fridge. It will last for about 24 hours – just give it a good shake before you drink it.
This is a super easy snack to grab that doesn’t involve much of your own preparation. 4-6 crackers with a small portion of cheese is a yummy and sustaining snack.
Better yet, many supermarkets have these individual portions ready to go. If all else fails and you need to pop down to the canteen or coffee shop, try to choose a nourishing option. Some mixed nuts, a herbal tea, a smoothie made with coconut water and fruit, a chicken, avocado and salad sandwich, a piece of fruit or some yoghurt are all good options for your focus, health and mood.