Skip to main content

Health library

Back to health library

Tasty Tuesday by Anna Grindeland, RD, CD: Nutrition - STAT!

Anna Grindeland, RD, CD

Whether you are a nurse, NAC, or anyone else working in healthcare you understand how difficult it can be to eat right while caring for others. For that reason, it is important for you to take care of yourself-- but who has time?

Here is your quick guide to eating right—STAT!

STOP.

Stop right there—put down the phone, turn off the TV, take a deep breath, and eat mindfully. You do not need more time to eat mindfully—it can be done in a short meal break: Put away distractions. Ask yourself, am I really hungry? Stop 2-3 times during your meal to put down the fork (or spoon or sandwich) and assess how hungry or full you are. Stop when you are full.

TASTE.

Myth: eating healthy means sacrificing taste. Often, the foods we enjoy the most are the healthiest for us—when they are part of a balanced meal. Home-cooked meals are often healthier than eating out—Sautéing, baking, and steaming are easy and healthy cooking methods you can do at home. Lean meats tenderize in a vinegar marinade or with low, slow cooking (crock pot, anyone?). Try a new fruit or vegetable each time you go to the store—you may be surprised what you like. Vegetables are wonderful raw, roasted with a bit of oil, or on the grill. Marinate your vegetables like squash, peppers, and onions before grilling. Wash a full head of bok choy and put on the grill, remove just before it chars, slice, and serve with your BBQ or slice 3/4-1” thick slices of cabbage, brush with marinade while grilling.

APPRECAITE YOUR COWORKERS.

With 80+% of adults reporting that they are trying to eat healthier, it’s likely that many of your coworkers are, too. Support each other by making sure everyone gets an uninterrupted break, bringing in healthy food (or non-food gifts) to share, and avoid putting others down for trying to eat right.

TAKE TIME TO PREPARE.

We are all subject to what is easy, available and convenient. Preparing puts healthy foods in the front of our shopping carts, refrigerators, and minds. Grocery shopping should be done at least once per week to have fresh foods available. Pre-washed and conveniently packaged fruits and veggies are just as healthy and are less likely to go un-eaten. Get a lunch box or snack bag to easily throw together your food for the work day. Try adding a fresh salad and fruit to your favorite lunch meal, and using portion-controlled containers to store leftovers for easy, portion-controlled lunches the next day. You will eat what is available, so set up your environment to support healthy habits.

On the run? These filling snacks will keep you going through your shift:

  • 1-6oz cup of low fat Greek yogurt with honey.
  • 1 to 2 ounces (about a 1/3 cup) of trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and a little chocolate. Convenient snack-size packages are great for keeping portions in check, but if you have the time you can mix your own and pack in snack bags or small Tupperware.
  • 1 ounce pretzels dipped in 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter
  • 1 banana or 1 apple can give you as much energy as a cup of coffee without the caffeine crash.
  • 6-10 whole grain crackers (look for at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving!) and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese.
  • 1 low fat string cheese wrapped in 1 small corn tortilla with salsa
  • Small handful cherry tomatoes with yogurt ranch or other dip.
  • Chopped celery and tuna salad wrapped in a whole wheat pita pocket or tortilla.

Written by WHMC Registered Dietitian, Anna Grindeland, RD, CD

Read more breaking news Related stories

The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.