Healthcare is an incredibly vast field, comprised of a range of individuals with diverse skillsets, working together to ensure optimal patient care. Any healthcare career can thus be incredibly rewarding.
Nursing, however, can easily be one of the best healthcare careers to pursue and offers you the chance to make an immense impact in patients’ lives. However, working as a nurse can also be an incredibly challenging, draining job if you don’t know how to protect your health.
The profession can be incredibly hectic, and it can be easy to neglect your health. However, this can have far-reaching consequences not just for yourself, but for your patients too as the quality of care can be impacted.
Following a healthy diet will contribute toward your health in a positive way. if you’re interested in learning about diet tips for nurses, keep reading below.
Ditch the coffee
When you’re working in the healthcare sector, you’ll need a cup of coffee to make it through the long night shifts and early mornings. There is nothing that can give you an instant energy boost the way coffee does, and you might grow dependent on it.
Caffeine dependency can be incredibly harmful, and if you want to stay healthy, you’re better off ditching this habit. Coffee can often be so addictive that cutting back can lead to withdrawals, such as nervousness, nausea, increased heart rate and insomnia.
If you’re studying alongside working, you can find yourself even more tempted to reach for that cup of coffee. Higher education can help you advance your career and assume positions of leadership and work in a more specialized capacity. An RN to BSN Degree is super easy to complete online and can help you take your career to the next stage. However, whether you’re studying or working, try to stay away from caffeine to keep yourself away from developing a caffeine dependency.
A huge reason why many nurses resort to unhealthy eating habits is simply that they feel eating healthy can be too time-consuming. It can seem much easier to grab a burger on the way home than put together a healthy meal after you get home. However, these lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on your health and can leave you feeling bloated, fatigued, and deprived of essential nutrients.
If you don’t have enough time to make a meal on weekdays, it is understandable. However, an easy and healthy solution can be to meal prep during the weekends. Meal prepping involves batch cooking, and then dividing your meals into portions within boxes.
Upon returning home, all you’ll have to do is reheat the food portions, or give it a toss in the pan. You can pre-marinate meat, par-cook vegetables, and prepare breakfasts in advance so you can eat easily on the go. While this can include a little extra work during the weekends, your body will thank you for it.
Ditch the comfort food
When you’re sitting in the break room while on a long, grueling shift, the only thing which can make you feel better can be a sugary milkshake, greasy fries, and some crisps. Comfort eating is very real, and the sugary, processed food can, for a while, make you feel a little less tired. However, much like all unhealthy coping mechanisms, emotional eating can leave you feeling a lot worse than you were before.
It doesn’t help that most hospitals and clinics, ironically enough, offer unhealthy vending machine snacks. Avoiding these greasy snacks can make a world of a difference and can help you maintain your fitness and health goals. There are various healthy snacking options available on the market, which can make an excellent substitute for chips, candies and sugary beverages.
Stick to a schedule
When you’re in between shifts, it can be challenging to find time to have a decent meal. Instead, you might find yourself binging late at night, early in the morning, or in between shifts. Whatever the case, sporadic meals can do your body immense harm. Random meal timings can mess with your metabolism and can give you sharp cravings at the worst times.
Once you have a routine, your body can become attuned to having meals at set times, and you will find it easier to cut out unhealthy foods. Having a heavy breakfast and scheduling a set time for lunch and dinner can help you stay full and energized throughout the day and can help you perform at optimal level. Mealtimes can be linked to your body’s circadian rhythm, which can influence mood, fatigue, weight and insulin sensitivity.
Pay attention to the calories
Caloric control is easily one of the best ways you can get the most out of your meals. If you’re working toward a certain fitness or health goal, caloric control can be your best friend in order to reach your goals fast.
For instance, having a handful of nuts throughout the day is a healthier alternative to snacking on chips, but at the same time, you might want to consider how many calories do a handful of nuts add up to.
However, when counting calories, you need to ensure you meet your body’s nutritional needs. These depend on factors such as your activity levels, weight, gender, etc.
A nutritionist can help you determine the exact number of calories you need to consume to reach your goals. Adding the right macros into your diet can help you reach your health or fitness goals faster.
Get some variety
When you’re working as a nurse you may find it challenging to add variety to your meal plans. Even if you’re eating healthy, you might find yourself reaching for the same few options every day. Not only can this make sticking to a diet boring but it can also lead to nutritional deficiencies. When adding variety, you can switch around the vegetables, fruits, grains and meat.
As a nurse, sometimes the last thing on your mind is what you need to eat. However, paying close attention to your diet is vital if you want to perform well as a nurse. These tips can help you manage a healthy diet even when you work the most hectic hours and can help you perform to the best of your capabilities.