Quick and Healthy Meal Ideas for Busy Nurses!

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.blub

  • 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.peeta malark

      • 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!cel

      • 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.
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Click on this infographic for more information on healthy eating from ChooseMyPlate.gov!

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?

MotherEarth

Earth Day Tips: Packing a Healthier, Zero Waste Lunch

This is a guest blog by WildMintShop.com

Tuesday, April 22 this year is “Earth Day,” a day when people around the globe get together to bring awareness to environmental issues and promote greater appreciation of the planet. There are thousands of steps, big or small, one can take to help protect our planet, and today we wanted to focus on a topic we know everyone can relate to—food! As busy health professionals, we know it’s probably hard to find time to pack lunch, yet, ordering takeout, eating in the cafeteria, or constantly going out for lunch aren’t necessarily the most cost-effective or healthiest options. That’s why we’re here to help you change up your lunch routine while going green! At Wild Mint, we are dedicated to helping families live healthier, safer, and more earth-friendly lifestyles, so we’ve put together some of our favorite tips to help you pack a healthier, zero waste lunch for work.

There are two main areas you can focus on to help pack a healthier lunch: the food you pack and the containers you use to pack your food.  First, trying to pack whole, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, legumes, and grains are of course better for your health than eating processed foods and those high in saturated fats.  But another thing to remember is that research shows organic foods are higher in nutrients (vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals) and free from many of the toxic pesticides used in regular foods.  To help you shop for organic foods on a budget, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to see the best foods to try to buy organic.

Now that you’re packing healthier foods, it’s time to consider your food containers. Did you know that chemicals in some items including lunch bags, plastic containers, utensils, plastic baggies, and water bottles can actually leach into your food and drink? These toxic chemicals (including Bisphenol-A or BPA, phthalates and PVC’s, and lead) can have a short or long term effect on people’s health including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, worsening allergy and asthma symptoms, impaired intellect, and some cancers. To help you avoid any potential health consequences from using products made with toxic chemicals, switch to non toxic, reusable lunch-packing gear made from glass, stainless steel, organic cotton, and bamboo.

Packing your lunch in reusable products is also a great way to reduce waste in the environment. According to RecycleWorks.org, a person who uses a disposable lunch creates between 4-8 ounces of garbage everyday, which can add up to as much as 100 pounds per year! That’s a lot of garbage by just one person that is polluting the air and oceans. Additionally, plastics, which are used to make so many disposable lunch gear items, take centuries to decompose and if incinerated in the process, release toxic byproducts into the atmosphere.

PCSOW028                  Below are 4 ways to help you pack the perfect zero-waste lunch:MSWB8056

1)      Pack a Reusable Lunch Bag: Look for a reusable lunch bag free from toxic chemicals like lead, PVCs, phth alates, and BPA. If you’re looking for the most eco friendly option, opt for a bag made completely from 100% organic cotton, which is grown without the use of pesticides and has lower environmental impacts than conventional cotton.

2)      Store Healthy Food in Reusable Containers: As discussed, glass, stainless steel, and organic cotton are all toxin-free alternatives to plastic that also promote healthier eating by conscious food preparation. Pack healthy sandwiches, meals, veggie sticks, yogurt, fruit, and more nutritious options in safer glass food storage containers and stainless steel food containers. Replace plastic baggies with reusable sandwich bags and reusable snack bags which will save money in the long run and help reduce waste!

3)      Sustainable Utensils & Napkins: Reusable bamboo utensils are an Eco-friendly alternative to plastics, much lighter then packing silverware, and super cute! With napkins, opt for reusable 100% organic cotton instead of paper napkins that add unnecessary waste to landfills.

4)      Reusable Beverage Bottles: Plastic water bottles, juice boxes, soda cans, and other disposable drinks can contain unhealthy ingredients, toxic chemicals, and of course contribute to waste. Instead, use reusable glass water bottles or stainless steel water bottles filled with water and other healthy beverages. We love Lifefactory water bottles for glass and Klean Kanteen bottles for stainless steel.

We hope these tips have been helpful and informative in learning about toxin-free, earth friendly lunch packing. For some ideas on healthy lunch and snack options visit our Recipe Section and to learn more about healthy, safer living visit our Learn Section.