Looking back on my early days as a new grad, I am not sure how I made it through most shifts. I was in my twenties and cherished sleeping in more than eating breakfast. I would snooze until the very last second, quickly shower, throw my clothes on, and rush out the door. If I had an extra five minutes, I would grab a cup of hot tea for the road. Nowhere in those brief moments before a long twelve-hour shift did I consider eating breakfast. I would walk through the first half of my day on adrenalin alone. If I could talk with my twenty something year old self today, my first and most important piece of life advice would be to eat breakfast before work.
The following are just a few breakfast suggestions to help you start your day right. They are heart healthy and high in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Foods high in fiber and protein are the best choices because they will maintain blood sugar longer and leave you feeling full until it is time for lunch. All it takes is waking up a few minutes earlier, but will make a huge difference in your day.
Blueberry & Banana Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a hearty breakfast that will keep you full most of the day. It is a whole grain that helps lower LDL thus reducing heart disease, reduce your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, and has anti-oxidant qualities. Cook up a serving of your oats of choice according to the label using milk or any alternative such as almond milk or soy milk. Add a sliced banana and a quarter cup of blueberries to top. For a nutty flavor, you can even add a few sliced almonds.
Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie
Between the protein in the peanut butter and the fiber in the banana, this smoothie is the perfect brain food to quickly jump start your day. Blend two bananas, a half a cup of peanut butter, 2 ice cubes, and 2 cups of low fat or almond milk for a tasty morning smoothie. In less than two minutes, you have a no excuse breakfast on the go.
Egg, Avocado, & Basil on a Kaiser
This is my absolute favorite for breakfast! Fry or scramble one egg in about 2 teaspoons of olive oil (just enough to coat the pan). Add half a sliced avocado and a few fresh basil leaves with the egg on a fresh Kaiser roll for the most delicious and easy breakfast sandwich. The protein packed egg and avocado will give you the needed energy to make it through your first rounds of the day. You can wrap it in a paper towel and eat on your way out the door.
If you are a fan of yogurt, try this super easy breakfast bowl. Muesli is one of my staple breakfasts. I tried this muesli bowl during a girls’ weekend with friends in Sweden. You will need plain yogurt, muesli, one apple or nectarine, one banana, a quarter cup pumpkin seeds, and a quarter cup sunflower seeds. You can add flax seed as well or any other item you might crave. Start with about a half a cup of muesli and half a cup of yogurt adding more or less to your liking. Add the fruit and nuts and blend well. You can add a drizzle of honey if you want it a little sweeter. Opt for plain yogurt instead of flavored if you are trying to avoid hidden sugar. If this seems like too much preparation the morning of, mix all the dry ingredients the night before your shift and simply blend with the yogurt in the morning.
Eating before work benefits not only you, but your patients as well. Our patients rely on us to show up prepared to be our best. What is your favorite work day breakfast? Stay tuned for some easy dinner suggestions for the night shifters out there.