5 ways to eat healthier at work for nurses and midwives
Fitness nutritionist and personal trainer Anthea Strachan shares her SMART FIVE tips for eating healthier at work.
How many times have you been rushed off your feet, running from one patient to the next, giving all you have to care for them and little left over in reserve? Finding that lunch or dinner break never comes and grabbing something to keep you going from the canteen or vending machine? Sound familiar?
Fitness Nutritionist and Personal Trainer Anthea Strachan believes that most people don’t know how good they’re designed to feel. The demands of work and life often lead to poor dietary choices and a lacklustre feeling in the body that “feels normal”.
Without a healthy well balanced diet, you will suffer, your energy levels will be depleted, and you will burn yourself out. Here are Anthea’s SMARET FIVE ways for nurses and midwives when it comes to eating healthier at work.
Planning is everything. Not only can you ensure that nutritious ingredients are used, you can safeguard from reaching for a quick fix when the demands of the job overtake the ability to take a break and eat healthy.
Take the time to sit down and plan for the week ahead. Meal prepping is the best way to ensure you have delicious and nutritious meals made in advance for you to grab and go. It is also the best way to get the most bang for your buck in the supermarket and have little to no waste from the fresh ingredients you buy.
Nutrients over calories
Stop counting calories and start looking at the nutritional content of your meal. When in doubt on options always remember that fresh is best. When you’re confronted with options, go for the least processed and freshest selection. Go with water with a slice of ginger or a couple of strawberries instead of sugary drinks. Limit saturated fats like in potato chips, and go for options with healthy fats like almonds. Also try to go for whole grains over refined carbs, and pick rye over white bread where you can.
Vegetables are a snack too!
All too often we see people trying to get healthy, cutting sugar from their diets and going to the healthier choice of fruit as their snacks. But don’t overdo the fruit, and stick to no more than two serves a day.
This is where the elusive vegetable steps in, you can’t overdo vegetables. Start with carrot or cucumber sticks with 2 tablespoons of hummus as your snack and then get super crazy and head to your capsicum, raw cauliflower, and sugar or snow peas. For a sweeter option, celery and peanut butter has always been a winner – but keep it to an organic and less processed peanut butter.
Know how to read a nutritional label
Knowing what information you are looking for is the quickest and easiest way for you to be able to make the best choices and avoid unnecessary saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and kilojoules.
Look at the energy per serve, and how many serves are in the pack. As a rule of thumb for weight loss, a snack should be no more than 418kJ to 523kJ (100-125 Cal) and a meal should be between 1360kJ to 1675kJ (325-400 Cal).
Next look at the saturated fats, carbohydrates and sodium content. Aim for less than 3g per 100g of saturated fats, less than 15g per 100g of sugars (I look for under 10g myself) and under 120mg per 100g of sodium.
You can check out this link for more information on how to read nutritional labels.
Ditch the restriction on carbs
Carbohydrates are the single source of energy your brain requires to function. It cannot derive this energy from Proteins or Fats. So in essence, restricting carbohydrates makes us all a little less with it.
Not all carbohydrates are created equal. You need to get up close and personal with them. Start choosing the good ones over eliminating carbs them from your diet. Carbohydrates don’t make you fat, it’s the ones you’re choosing and how much you consume that will determine if you gain weight or not.
Go for low GI, high fibre options found in whole grains, brown rice and fruit and vegetables. Think along the lines of oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, apples, beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, barley and rye.
While you spend so much of your daily work life focused on looking after others, it is critical not to forget to look after yourself. Your patients need you to be at your very best!
This article was proudly sponsored by Fit Finder.
If you would like to learn more about how to take care of your body, or organise a full session with Anthea, simply go to the Fit Finder website.
For your first session, use the code: Nurse50 to receive $50 off your first session to give it a try!