Surviving Shift Work and Eating Well!

Medical Scrubs Mall, scrubs, scrub, nurses, shifts

Your workday can start with a patient coding or you get 6 new patients to attend too or you have a pile of administrative work to finish…sounds familiar? A someecard posted on our Facebook Page says, “YOU know you’re a Nurse, when you’ve eaten applesauce and graham crackers for lunch….from your medcart…cause you’re busy…” Now, isn’t that the truth! Haha…..

Working shifts can have a major impact on your nutrition and overall health if you are not careful managing it. Because your routine is different from the norm, it is easy to be in the moment and get whatever you need from the vending machines or hospital cafeterias. Do you find yourself constantly stressed, running around haggard and tired a lot? Well, have no fear! There are solutions to this never-ending craze and it takes discipline and planning.

Start with what you know. If your schedule is back-to-back 12 hour shifts, then you know you have 12 hours for the rest of the day to sleep, run an errand, organize proper meals and snacks and relax for a bit. Don’t try to force a lot of things on yourself and put additional pressure.

Planning. Depending on when you have a day off, write up your grocery list, and cook several meals and freeze them. So it is easy to just pack and go to work. Include healthy snacks as well because before you know it, you are packing on the pounds due to the vending machines and getting more sluggish and eventually, you become unhappy with yourself.  

Don’t skip meals. It does more harm than good.

Here are some ideas for healthy meals and great snack choices:

  • Breakfast: when making sandwiches, put lettuce and tomatoes and any other leafy greens like spinach and kale to help you increase your intake of phytonutrients.
    • Include fresh seasonal fruits like berries, bananas, apples, grapes or even pineapple chunks.
    • You can even add those fruits to your cereal or oatmeal.
    • Juicing is quick and easy and you can invest in a Nutribullet that can grind your fruits and veggies easily and serve in a few minutes and this will start your day off on the right foot.
    • Egg whites on 2 slices of multi grain toast.
  • Lunch and Dinner: pack fresh salads and include whatever fruits are in season as well as almonds and walnuts.
    • In your pasta dishes, include steamed veggies like broccoli, carrots or even green beans and cook it as a veggie dish or include chicken breast or shrimp for your meat choices.
    • Cook brown rice instead of white rice and eat with it a serving of veggies and baked chicken breasts or salmon filets already prepared by your grocery.
  • Snacks: fruits, trail mixes, granola bars, dark chocolate pieces, yogurt, light string cheese snacks, baby carrots or watercress with light salad dressing.
  • Drinks: 4-5 bottles of water, hot teas, 1 cup of coffee or your favorite cocoa. The important thing here is to hydrate as you work in an AC environment and run around a lot.

Success is hidden in your daily routine according to Bernie De Souza, a successful sportsman, businessman and motivational coach, as well as being a highly sought-after international speaker. Create good habits for yourself and you will help fuel your body for your rigorous routine and enjoy each day instead of living for the next one. Stay comfortable with your favorite scrubs from Medical Scrubs Mall and Bon Apetit!

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