Nurses are known for being fully committed to their work. This usually translates to more time on the job and less time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals. In an effort to prevent nurses from falling into this pattern, we’ve come up with 5 easy to make, healthy meal ideas to help provide you with the nutrients and energy that you need to get through your demanding work day. Waking up just a little bit earlier or taking some time out of the night before to put together a healthy meal will improve your focus and mood – two benefits that make a huge difference in the day to day and long run.
Night-shift nurses: we haven’t forgotten about you! Although a typical breakfast time hasn’t been in your schedule for months now, these meal ideas are still perfect to help carry you through that challenging night shift.
Breakfast: You’ve heard the old saying plenty of times, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well, it couldn’t be any truer. According to WebMD, breakfast is linked to key health benefits, such as weight control, lower cholesterol levels, and improved performance in areas such as concentration and endurance.
- Start your day off on the right foot by adding some fruit to your breakfast. Blueberries have been dubbed as a “super food” by many scientists as a result of their high nutritional benefits and links to improved brain health, reduced body fat, and anti-aging properties because of the abundance of free radicals. A cup of blueberries is the perfect serving size to start off your day.
- This delicious fruit will pair nicely with ½ cup of oatmeal boiled in 1 cup of water. Hearty and filling, oatmeal provides you with the energy you need to carry you through the day until lunch.
- Drink 1 cup of orange juice in the morning. This tasty drink is loaded with potassium, dietary fiber, and Vitamin C!
Lunch: Lunch is a very important meal that will help carry you through the rest of the workday. Since your metabolism is highest during afternoon hours, be sure to have a well-balanced, nutritious lunch that focuses on good carbohydrates and protein.
- For a satisfying and filling choice try a whole-wheat tortilla roll with sliced turkey, sliced low-fat mozzarella cheese, red pepper strips, and a chilled lettuce leaf. Add a fruit salad for some extra sweetness!
- For all of the vegetarians out there, try a whole wheat pita stuffed with vegetarian refried beans, salsa, lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese! Apple slices with peanut butter will give you an extra boost!
Snack: We’ve all done it: Your lunch didn’t really do the trick and now you’re starving at 3 PM with at least 2 more hours on the job. “That Snickers in the vending machine sure does sound good right now…” In spite of the blissful few minutes of flavor and happiness that you feel while eating the Snickers bar, you will inevitably regret this decision about 30 minutes later when the sugar crash hits you. Avoid the unnecessary, unhealthy calories with these snacks instead!
- For all you peanut butter lovers out there, this snack suggestion is perfect for you! A medium stalk of celery with 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter contains 195 calories rich in protein and fiber. Filling and tasty, this easy-to-prepare snack will give you a perfect guilt-free, delicious experience!
- Fiber One Bars are packed with 35% of your daily value of fiber! Treat yourself while staying healthy at the same time with Fiber One’s Oats and Chocolate Chewy Bar! It will satisfy your sweet tooth and prevent you from crashing during the day.
Check out this infographic by MyPlate.gov for a representation of what a balanced meal would look like!
We would love to know: What meals do you eat to stay healthy and energized while on the job?