Healthy eating and shift work??!

I've been back at placement three weeks now and with starting back at placement comes working crazy shift patterns with travelling to and from placement as well as the crazy break times (anyone not in healthcare, you get a break when you can not when you feel like it!). Due to all of that and more it means being healthy on placement takes some thought and some preparation beforehand! I've picked three meals I have the most often whilst on placement for each meal of the day.

Breakfasts ~
Now depending on what shift I am doing and am I feeling when I wake up it depends what I will have for breakfast. These past couple of weeks it has been one of three things.

  1. Porridge with flavour drops and cinnamon ~ If I am on a late or it's gone a bit chilly in the morning I will tend to have this as it warms you up and fills me up until after lunch.
  2. Toast with butter/possibly with jam ~ This is my go to breakfast (normally just toast and butter) when I get up on an early as I can make it before I leave, cut it and wrap in foil then I can eat it whilst I am in the car.
  3. Nutri Grain Breakfast Bakes ~ Now I know these probably aren't the healthiest breakfast bar, but they sure are delicious and keep me full until it's time for lunch. These are great as I can just chuck one in my bag and eat it as I'm walking from my car to the ward!

Lunches ~ 
On an early my 'lunch' break can be any time from 10am to 12pm, meaning that I tend to vary my lunches as sometimes it's a bit weird having a full on lunch meal at about 10am (and yes sometimes I have had to have my 'lunch' break at 10am due to the nature of my current ward)

  1. Tomato, Chicken, Mozzarella pasta ~ This is my go to meal, it's delicious and super quick and easy to make. It's one of those meals that you can eat cold and reheat really well. I recently discovered tomato pesto and I love using that instead of passata as well and it tastes so good! I find with this meal I can either use it for a lunch or dinner meal.
  2. Chicken, spinach and veggies wrap ~ I love these if I am trying to be prepared and pack my lunch the night before which I do try and do as often as possible to give me more time in bed in the morning! If you prefer your wraps with some sort of sauce on, either put it on in the morning or take it in a little sauce container (Sistema do a great pack of four dressing pots, that I use all the time!). Best thing is if you are fussy (like I sometimes can be) you can pick and choose exactly what you want in them.
  3. Pitta/Bagel pizzas ~ These are brilliant little light lunches and you can add whatever you want on to them so you can make them really healthy. I like to cut a bagel in half or just leave the pitta whole, put a bit of tomato puree or passata on top; then add spinach, chicken, sweetcorn and a sprinkle of mozzarella on top. All that is left to do is grill it till it is melted, then just let it cool and put in a tupperware container and you are all ready to go!

Dinner ~
If I am on a late shift I will have my dinner at placement as I am usually in till about 9.30pm (before I travel home), normally the evening break is around the normal dinner time of about 5-6pm (obviously this can vary).

  1. Baked sweet potato, chicken and veggies ~ These are perfect for making whilst I'm getting ready as I can put them in the oven and just leave them to cook and then they can go straight into a tupperware and go with me.
  2. Protein shake and snacks ~ Sometimes I'll find during a late shift that I'm not actually that hungry so I'll take either one of my VNutrition or Myprotein shakes and a couple of snacks like fruit, rice cakes or a yoghurt.
  3. Soup ~ I tend to opt more for something light during an evening shift as there is nothing worse than feeling all bloated in a nurse's uniform! It's also super handy as I have a little soup container which you can put straight in the microwave and heat up your soup and eat it straight out of! I've always liked that soup makes me full without eating loads or becoming bloated.

I like quick and easy meals that I can either do the night before or can just leave to cook in the morning whilst I get ready! 

Let me know if you have any healthy meals or snacks that are great during shift work, or if you try any of these!

Danielle Levy

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