Healthy eating for nurses is a critical area to focus on for those who work extended hours. With no breaks and no time or room to eat healthy meals, you only incur risks of obesity and other major health issues. A consecutive 12-hour shift with little time left over to spend with your family can make you weak. You only need a good amount of rest to drive back to work the next day. We have a handful of tips that can work the best if you work for long hours.
Healthy eating for Nurses - importance
In any hospital setting where staffing is necessary 24 hours a day with a coverage of 10 to 12-hour shifts, nurses do require a proper nutritional diet to maintain and improve their health. Not only in nursing but in many different industries, a shift in employment is linked to unhealthy eating and obesity.
Most nurses continue to consume a conventional diet high in processed foods and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, similar to the general population. This has been a leading cause of death and disability in the United Kingdom. In fact, a majority of nurses in the UK are overweight or obese, which raises their risk of developing a number of chronic conditions.
Quick tips for nurses to eat healthily
Most nurses give lack of time as the main reason to skip meals. However, is not a legitimate reason to skip meals, as many healthy meal options may be prepared in less than 30 seconds. Additionally, a nutritious diet helps with weight management and can enhance productivity at work. The following tactics encourage healthy nutrition for shift nurses.
Set a reminder when it is meal time!
Include time slots to remind yourself to have a snack or a meal if you are the type of person who loves to schedule everything on your agenda. This reminder will make it easier for you to remember to eat even when you are rushing about or doing homework. After many hours of arduous work, taking a snack break will also assist you to relax and take a break.
Plan regular mealtimes
As much as you can, follow your mealtime schedule. Meals that are irregular or inconsistent can make you feel tired and make you acquire weight. Even though mealtimes may change depending on the shift, don’t go more than 6 hours without eating.
Healthy nurse deserves healthy food
You are what you eat. This saying is true. You must feed your body with nourishing and satisfying natural foods if you want to function at your peak and make sure your nursing judgment is sharp as a dagger.
The foundation of a healthy lifestyle is a proper dietary intake, which you cannot overlook just because you are at work. Night shift nurses also fall under this category. No of the time of day, a wholesome diet is just as vital for the night shift as it is for the day shift.
Never leave for work without eating
You should have a substantial meal before leaving for work. You ought to have your main meal around midday if you work the afternoon shift. Eat your main meal between 6 and 7 pm if you work the evening shift. Throughout your shift, you ought to eat a little meal or some wholesome snacks like crackers, apples, and nuts. Large meals should be avoided at night because they may result in constipation, gas, or heartburn.
Snacking for healthcare professionals for you
Eating nutrient-dense snacks throughout the day rather than relying just on one major meal is one important strategy I’ve discovered to keep me on track with my health and guarantee I maintain a healthy weight. If I only eat once, I find that I go hungry at home, wreck the pantry, and mess up whatever healthy habits I’m trying to develop.
Pick the higher-quality protein or granola bars
Try to avoid using these bars in place of a meal. Your body needs more nutrients than are found in the bar in order to function properly. When the body is low on energy, these bars act more like nibbles and provide a rapid dose of energy. Make sure you are familiar with the ingredients in the energy bars you are purchasing by reading the ingredient list.
Say no to “one large meal”
By consuming one substantial meal per day, you may be engaging in calorie loading, which can overload your body with calories it cannot handle. It’s advisable to spread out your daily nutritional intake rather than ingest it all at once. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Bring water with you to work
You can keep alert and avoid getting too fatigued throughout your shift by drinking water. Avoid consuming alcohol and sweetened soft drinks before, during, and after work. Other healthful drinks include unsweetened herbal tea and 100% pure vegetable and fruit juices with low salt content.
Reduce (or control) your caffeine intake
At least four to five hours before the end of your shift, try to avoid consuming any caffeine. Since caffeine can linger in your system for several hours, it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep when you’re ready for bed.
Unwind while eating
Stress is a common excuse given by nurses for skipping meals. Stress hormones can suppress appetite, making it simple to skip meals or difficult to even consider eating. Therefore, try to unwind and take a few slow, deep breaths before you take your first bite. Your body will have more time to digest meals properly as a result.
Stock up on protein and carbs
Protein is important for satiety and feeling full, while carbohydrates give the brain and muscles energy. Grain or carbohydrate, fruit or vegetable, and a source of protein should all be included in a meal’s balance. Vegetables, fruits, grains, and carbohydrates should be included in your snacks in equal amounts, as should a source of protein.
Don't eat right before bed
Your sleep will be disrupted if you are consistently dieting, carbohydrate-restricted, or simply not eating enough. To establish a meal plan that achieves a proper balance of nutrition for health and achievement of your ideal weight, seek the assistance of a registered dietitian.
Evaluate your exercise routine
Exercise may need to be postponed before bedtime, according to research, as it can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Turn off any energising activity
Earlier going to bed, turn off your laptops, smartphones, and television at least 30 to 60 minutes before. Remove the TV from your bedroom.
It is mandatory for hospitals to initiate workplace wellness programs that expressly target nurses to modify their eating habits. Hospital shift nurses require supportive structures, policies, and interventions that focus on and lessen the barriers associated with hospital-based nursing shift employment in order to attain healthy eating practices in the workplace. These results should guide hospital food policies, workplace wellness programs, administrative procedures, and staff education to enhance the dietary behaviors of hospital shift nurses.
Working with an NHS recruitment agency like JP Medicals can help you work in flexible timing that best suits you! Contact us now.
1. How can I eat healthily and work long hours?
Even small dietary changes can add to your health while you work for long hours. It could be as simple as adding a reminder to your calendar or planner, staying hydrated by sipping loads of water, picking the superior protein or granola bar, carrying your own snacks for work, and much more.
2. How can I lose weight working 12-hour day shifts?
Working 12-hour night shifts while trying to lose weight may seem like an impossible, insurmountable endeavor, but if you’re aware of the pitfalls and have a good outlook, it’s feasible.
3. Does nightshift increase weight?
Yes, it does. Your circadian rhythm is disrupted when you work night shifts. Your biological clock is set to repeat this pattern every day, and the body enjoys routine.