All nurses should take lunches and breaks. Period. This has been explored in detail and argued over the internet for years. It is true… a happy nurse is one who has urinated and eaten.
That doesn’t mean you need to have a five course meal. You can easily pick up items in your grocery store that will give you the nutrition you need with a minimal amount of time.
Carbohydrates give you a quick boost of energy, but protein gives you a slower spike that lasts longer. Protein will keep you going through a twelve hour shift, and the bar form makes it easy to eat quickly.
A word of caution, though: pick a bar that is relatively low in calories. Some of the protein bars out there have as many calories as a candy bar, and that defeats the purpose of trying to eat healthy.
Meal Replacement Drinks
Like protein bars, meal replacement drinks can be teeming with calories. In fact, that’s their purpose, but if you adjust the other calories in the rest of your diet, you can control your caloric intake.
These drinks are great for getting nutrients into your body fast, and they can help stave off the feelings of hypoglycemia. Again, though, be careful with them because they can add on weight if you don’t subtract the calories from your overall daily allowance.
Manufactures have come out with a new packaged food called protein packs. These consist of meat, cheese, and nuts, and they have different “flavors” for those who prefer a certain type of protein or for variety.
There isn’t much downside to these packs since they are low in calories, high in protein, and easy to eat quickly. They may be a bit expensive, but they are worth it to get a decent snack on the go.
Lunchables and other packaged cracker and cheese combos are another way to eat quickly without adding to you calorie intake. If you are unfamiliar with these packages, they have a meat, a cheese, and some crackers to make a small sandwich.
Again, there are different flavors for those who prefer ham instead of turkey, for instance. They are relatively cheap and low in calories – perfect for a nurse who needs food STAT.
String cheese is a great way to give yourself an infusion of protein and nutrition when you need to get into the breakroom and back out again. You can even buy the low fat versions to keep an eye on your fat intake.
There are many varieties of string cheese, such as Colby jack, cheddar, and mozzarella. Many other cheeses are now coming in snack size packages, so you can pick any type you like for an on the go snack.
Instead of popcorn and potato chips, consider taking in a bag of dry cereal for lunch. No, you shouldn’t get Frosted Flakes or Cocoa Puffs, but get something that is healthy, preferably with bran and some type of protein included.
It is important, though, to get one that you like, so don’t be afraid to try different types of cereals. Even Cheerios are okay, and cereals without milk tend to have fewer calories, keeping your nutrition goals intact.