Posted in Guest Written articles

Feeding The Soul

Eating strategies to keep you energized

Written by nutritionist expert and dietician, Gina Worful

I truly don’t know how nurses do it. You superheroes spend countless hours running around taking care of other people and then many of you go home to take care of a family.When nurses reach out to me, they usually say, “I’m so busy taking care of everyone else that I forget or just don’t have time to take care of myself.” But you have to take care of you first in order to have the energy to take care of those around you. One of the biggest struggles that nurses often confess is working their crazy shift hours and not having much time to eat. Inevitably, they are under-fueling at work, then come home starving and chow down on food right before they go to sleep. Here are a few tips to help you stay fueled and energized:

1.
Be prepared.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! If your schedule is very busy
and you don’t have food or snacks on hand, you are headed for trouble once you
get home. Ravenously hungry + no preparation = mealtime disaster. That’s when
most turn to pizza, fast food, or wine with a bag of chips. Once a week do a quick
inventory check to make sure you have all the food items you need to be prepared
for the week. After you get any grocery supplies you need, wash and chop your
fruits and veggies so they are ready to be eaten or cooked up at any time! Batch
cooking meals can do wonders for saving time and make healthy eating much
easier.
2.
Have snacks ready!
Simple snacks can be meals too if you are tight on time. Even
if you only have 1 minute to take a break to gobble down some food every couple
of hours, it’s much better than going long periods of time with no food at all. Not
eating for 5+ hours usually results in uncontrollable overeating later. Choosing
snacks that have a mix of carbs, fats, and protein will digest much slower than
carbs alone to keep you satisfied longer and prevent a quick drop in your blood
sugar. As an easy, portable snack I make my own trail mix:
*Light popcorn: as a light filler
*Raw nuts: healthy fats & keep you full
*Dried edamame: protein to keep up your metabolism
*Dried fruits or dark chocolate chips: to keep you sane 🙂
Other snacks might be hard boiled eggs with cherry tomatoes and half of an
avocado, peanut butter and apple sandwich, Greek yogurt with berries, a piece of
fruit and nuts, etc.
3.
Ask Why.
Stressful jobs and long hours are a trigger for grabbing sweet or salty
snacks to boost the “happy” neurotransmitter – serotonin – in your brain. Before
eating stop and ask yourself, “What do I really need?” It might need food but you
also might just need water, a nap, exercise, or an activity you like that helps you
unwind after the day.
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