Nursing shifts generally fall into two categories: There’s no time to sit down and you’re barely keeping your head above water and B O R E D O M.
The first type, the crazy shift, means you don’t have time to grab a proper meal. You’re snacking on anything you can get your hands on, if you’re lucky.
The second type lends itself to chronic eating. You’re bored. You’re sitting at your computer, your charting is all done and your patients are sleeping. So you graze on anything and everything to keep yourself from falling asleep.
Neither is great for your health, especially if you are eating crappy food.
However, you can reduce the impact of either situation on your health and weight by bringing better snacks to work. Here are 7 snacks to load up your nursing bag with so you’re always eating healthy:
#1 Dried fruit – I love dried mango, especially when I’ve been on the go for a while and just need some fast calories. Dried apricots, dates, cherries, and dried pineapple are great ways to treat your sweet tooth. Keep in mind that you don’t want to eat buckets of these, or you’ll absolutely have digestive problems. And make sure to buy dried fruit that isn’t dusted with sugar. It doesn’t need to be, and sugar causes weight gain and chronic health problems.
#2 Nuts – Macadamia nuts are amazingly satiating. One small handful of these and you’ll feel full for quite a while. They’re packed with nutrients and healthy fats. You can also try almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Steer clear of cashews, pistachios, and peanuts. You can eat them roasted or raw, salted or unsalted. It’s a good go to snack.
#3 Jerky – There’s junky jerky and there’s good jerky. Look for jerky that doesn’t have added sugar, MSG, or nitrates/nitrites. I like Mission Meats, Nick’s Sticks, and Steve’s Paleo Goods. (I also LOVE Steve’s Paleo Crunch)
#4 RX Bars – There are lots of different bars you can eat. Just walk down the aisle at your local supermarket and you’ll be overwhelmed. I enjoy RX Bars because they are made with simple and natural ingredients, and they have a complete nutrition profile with an appropriate amount of carbs, protein, and fat. And while not all of the flavors are amazing, you’ll be sure to find a few favorites. I like the Chocolate Sea Salt and the Peanut Butter and Berries (which tastes like a PB&J sandwich!)
#5 Nut Butter Packs – I don’t indulge in these often, because they’re a little pricey, but I do keep a few in my work bag. Justin’s Nut Butters makes serving size packs. You tear off the top and squeeze into your mouth. The nut butter provides a good amount of calories, protein,and healthy fats to help you get through a shift. I use them when I don’t feel like eating what I have or I just need a few calories to get me to my next break.
#6 Grain Free Granola – I LOVE the Purely Elizabeth Grain Free Granola, especially the Banana Nut Butter flavor. OMG! Just grab a handful at your desk, crunch away, and go see your next patient. Or you can eat it while you’re charting.
#7 Dark Chocolate – When I’m stressed, I want chocolate. Rather than head to the vending machine for a toxic candy bar, take good dark chocolate with you and grab a bite when you want it. I like Chocolove, but there are many good dark chocolate bars available to you.
My nursing duffel is actually half stuff for work, like my highlighters and stethoscope, and half food. I like keeping a variety of healthy snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated so that I know I always have something to eat, even if I may not have time to sit down and eat it.
You can grab a handful of nuts or a bit of an RX Bar between patients and keep even energy and blood sugar levels during your shift. This means you won’t go home starving, and you won’t have energy spikes and those dreadful energy plummets. And it’ll help you stay out of fight or flight mode – which is better for longevity and helps you fall asleep.
Best of all, none of these snacks require you to prepare anything. You buy them, drop them in your bag, and you’re good to go. Additionally, you can order all of these snacks online from Thrive Market or Amazon, which means right now, you can start taking control over your health and self care. Invest a little in your health and stock up on healthy snacks that you can take to work.