A 2017 survey among healthcare professionals found that 1 in 4 nurses in England are obese. While we as nurses spend most of our time looking after others, it seems we often neglect to care for ourselves. Job stress and long hours in addition to other factors tend to lead to us having poor eating habits and making poor food choices.

We often depend on unhealthy canteen food or grabbing a snack on the go. Now and again grateful patients bring in boxes of chocolates and biscuits which means surgeries and hospitals are rarely short of sweet snacks to tempt staff during a shift.

Nurses, it’s time to take control of what you eat! To start, you need to focus on your daily diet and pack yourself healthy lunches and snacks rather than relying on the local canteen. While it takes a little preplanning and effort, it’s actually an easy process to put in place if you want to lose weight and take more control of your health.

Not only can this have an effect on your overall wellbeing, it can also make a big difference to your finances!

Healthy Nurse Lunchbox Planning Steps:

  1. Sit down and plan your meals for the week. Get your partner/roommate involved, doing it together to save money and plan meals together.
  2. Swap unhealthy snacks for healthier ones, for example, rather than eating crisps, choose nuts and dried fruit instead. Bin the fizzy drinks and high sugar sodas and drink water.
  3. Buy a set of food storage containers to store food for the week and find time to prepare your meals in advance. Prepping and having food ready means you aren’t tempted to run out the door without grabbing your healthy options. 
  4. Buy a good size insulated lunch bag. This will help keep your food cool even if there isn’t a fridge at work.
  5. To save money you can buy things like meat and veg in bulk and prepare large recipe batches ahead of time.

Don’t Have Time to Prepare Healthy Food?

There’s actually no real excuse for this, even if you aren’t an experienced cook. Go online and you’ll find a whole range of simple and easy to prepare recipes that are better for your health than canteen food and snacks. The fact that many of these can be prepared beforehand means all you need to do is set a few hours aside once a week to get everything prepared.

Here are some great websites with simple recipes you can easily prepare for your healthy nurse lunchbox:

Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes

Healthy Wrap Roll Recipes

Healthy Salad Recipes

Healthy Soup Recipes

2019: The Year of the Healthy Nurse

As nurses, we are well aware that a balanced, nutritious diet is important. A combination of disruptive shifts and long working hours may well be contributing factors to unhealthy choices. That and the fact that sweet treats are always easily accessible!

Making better choices about what we eat is not something other people can do for us. It’s about making personal changes to your diet and sticking to them. Obesity can lead to many other health problems including high blood pressure, the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to name a few

If you’re bringing one big change into your life in 2019, perhaps it’s time to make your healthy nurse lunchbox a reality. You’ll be surprised how easy it actually is.

 

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