HEALTHY SNACKING AS A BUSY NURSE can be quite the challenge! Much of the time nurses skip a meal or head straight to the vending machine for a bag of chips or fattening chocolates. These habits in addition to long hours on the feet make for a sluggish, grumpy, unhealthy and unhappy nurse.
The demands of nursing call for food that fuels you, instead of weighs you down. You dont have to pack a salad everyday in order to achieve this goal. Instead, check out our top 10 snack choices for busy nurses like yourself!
Hard Boiled Egg
Hard boiled eggs are a perfect protein-packed snack to prepare ahead of time and throw into a tupperware container before your shift! They contain a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are generally pretty cheap and can be found in every grocery store! They are even available pre-cooked and packaged for convenience in some grocery stores!
Nutritionists and researchers actually consider eggs the highest quality protein available to humans (comparing all other proteins to that of eggs). Their high vitamin and mineral content make them the perfect energizing snack or meal additive for nurses. Theyre quick to eat and can be flavored with spices or sauces!
Healthy Trail Mix
Creating a healthy trail mix, or buying one from the store, is easier than you may think! Trail mix is a great choice for nurses, especially for those of us that get bored of food easily, as trail mix can be switched up anytime! Raw tree nuts lower cholesterol, improve heart health and can help you control your weight. They are full of clean and healthy proteins, fiber and unsaturated fats! Organic dried fruits add simple carbohydrates that boost energy and can curb a sweet tooth without the guilt!
Omega-3 Organic Trail Mix recipe:
- Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Dried Cranberries
- Dried Coconut
If youre one who likes chips, cookies and crunchy snacks, opt for natural popcorn instead! This guilt-free and filling snack will keep you energized, and you can eat a lot of it! Natural, air-popped popcorn is packed with fiber, antioxidants and whole grains. In fact, a 2012 study published by the University of Scranton found that popcorn contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that has impressive health benefits, including the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Not all popcorn is created equal! Try and avoid processed and packaged popcorn that is filled with chemicals, preservatives, calories and sodium from butter and salt.
Use a good old-fashioned stove top or popcorn maker with a bit of olive oil, coconut oil and a sprinkle of pink himalayan sea salt.
Greek Yogurt and Almonds
Greek yogurt is made like regular yogurt, but doesnt include the liquid whey of traditional yogurt. Because of this process, greek yogurt has been praised for its higher protein count with fewer sugars and carbohydrates. In addition, greek yogurt is packed with natural probiotics to keep your gut healthy, what nurse wants tummy troubles while on the move?
Adding almonds, or another organic tree nut, adds protein and a tasty crunch!
Hummus and Veggies
Hummus is praised for its high fiber, protein and calcium content – if not just its creamy texture and satisfying taste! Hummus also is a great food for managing blood sugar and is packed with heart-healthy antioxidants. Its a perfect snack for nurses looking for a savory, hearty snack without feeling weighed down.
You can find hummus in almost all grocery stores relatively cheap with several flavor varieties. If you choose to make it yourself at home, check out this simple recipe from BBC Good Food here.
Choose to dip with carrots, celery, or cherry tomatoes instead of fattening chips!
Apple and Peanut Butter
Organic peanut butter isnt just for school lunch boxes! Nurses can enjoy the delicious taste of peanut butter while receiving its health benefits easily. A couple of tablespoons of peanut butter contains potassium, fiber, energy-boosting protein and is great for heart health.
We picked apples to dip into peanut butter as they are not only the perfect pair, but apples are one of the healthiest, cheapest, most portable snack options available!
Be sure to choose natural, organic peanut butter without any added sugars, oils or salt – as these are commonly added to improve taste and shelf-life, but are not considered healthy.
Natural, organic granolas are not only delicious – they are often packed with essential vitamins, minerals and proteins that add energy. Lower cholesterol, increase energy, promote proper organ function, increase cognitive activity and increase bone strength with this powerful snack! Vitamin E and manganese regulate blood sugar and increase blood flow to your vital organs. Staying alert has never been easier or tastier!
Choose a granola that is organic and relatively low in fat if you can! Eat it in moderation with milk, fruits, yogurt or just on its own!
We bet youre happy to see chocolate on the list (we are too!). Organic dark chocolate is a delicious snack for those sugary cravings without the crash, calories, fat and sugar content found in the vending machine candies. Dark chocolate contains fiber and a ton of minerals – including iron, magnesium, copper manganese, zinc and more.
Dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants and flavanols to improve blood flow to vital organs. Delicious and nutritious!
Choose organic dark chocolate with a 70-85% cocoa content. Also, eat in moderation (limit yourself to 100 grams).
Steel-cut prepared oatmeal is a perfect snack (or meal) for nurses as it contains a high amount of soluble fiber, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. Its high fiber content makes it a chosen snack for health care professionals who may not have the opportunity to eat as much as they need as it is one of the most filling foods out there!
We recommend making the oatmeal in a slow cooker the night before for convenience in bulk for the week. Feel free to add berries, bananas, yogurt, chia seeds, tree nuts or whatever topping you fancy to spice it up!
For a high protein, low fat savory snack option, opt for edamame! Edamame is packed with fiber, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin K, folate, iron and a long list of other essential vitamins and minerals. They contain unsaturated fats and heart-healthy omega-3s that lower cholesterol and can prevent heart disease. Plus, edamame can curb a salty craving and prevent you from diving into an entire bag of chips for lunch!
We recommend steaming pre-cooked edamame that can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Place a serving in a tupperware container and enjoy during a break at work!
Check out our video below!