5 All-Star Snacks for Nurses
Posted: February 4, 2016 by Sarah Leavitt in Water Cooler
To make the cut as a truly great snack for nurses, foods must be easy to carry in a pocket, and easy to eat on the go, meaning no napkins or utensils needed. They must provide nutritional punch, must have qualities that fight fatigue, lessen stress, and boost overall mood.
The snacks on this list check all of these boxes and more, so think of them as nursing superfoods. Start eating them on the job, and your whole shift might just get better.
A banana comes in its own packaging and contains tryptophan, a chemical that aids in regulating mood. It’s the same stuff that causes the post-turkey bliss on Thanksgiving. And, since bananas are so high in potassium, they can help prevent cramping and muscle soreness.
Next up is dark chocolate. With so many brands out there, it’s easy to find small, snack-sized individually wrapped pieces of dark chocolate that are perfect for a nurse on the go. Dark chocolate is a natural stimulant that promotes the release of dopamine, and lowers stress hormones. So, in addition to giving you a pick-me-up when you’re tired, it will also make you feel better. And, it has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of almonds, but all nuts are great for a mid-shift snack. For example, walnuts have been found to improve your brain function, and have magnesium, which has been linked to keeping depression at bay. Because all nuts are high in protein and calories, you really only need a small amount for a satisfying snack. And, they’re easy to buy in prepackaged servings that fit in your pocket.
Another option is the traditional PB&J sandwich. In addition to the benefits of peanuts, pick a berry-based jam like raspberry or blackberry, and you’ll get an additional boost of antioxidants and vitamin C. And, if you make your sandwich on whole wheat bread, your body may respond with a better mood, since those whole grains boost your production of serotonin. Since PB&J doesn’t need to be refrigerated, it’s easy to make one at home, stick it in a resealable zipper storage bag, and put it in your pocket for later.
And finally, take a cue from hikers who use GORP to keep up stamina. An acronym for “good old raisins and peanuts,” GORP, or trail mix, has long been a staple for backpackers. It’s an easy way to get a balanced, tasty snack while you’re on the move. Make it yourself at home and augment it to include exactly what you like — for example, try switching roasted pistachios or soybeans for peanuts, or dried cherries for raisins.
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