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3 best mid-morning snacks for nurses

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*Grumble* *Grumble* *Grumble*

Yes, that’s your stomach talking to you – and anyone around you that can hear!

Your body is such a wonderfully amazing machine. Even for the ‘laymen’ it will let you know when it needs fuel. The problem is most of us either don’t have the time to re-fuel, or make poor choices on what to feed your grumbling belly.

There are a couple things that come into play when you’re looking for that mid-morning snack. First and foremost, I really hope you had a good breakfast. I know there are people out there that do not eat a breakfast??!! Breakfast is the meal that sets the stage for your whole day. Not eating breakfast is like not putting gas in your car – just doesn’t make sense! (But I digress)

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your mid-morning snack:

  • Food likes and dislikes
  • Do you have time to sit and prepare something
  • Are you ‘on-the-run’ and need something ‘quick and easy’

So lets take them one at a time.

Food likes and dislikes

This is kind of a no-brainer. You want to have or find food you will eat on a consistent basis. The bottom line here is find, prepare, or bring something you know you’ll enjoy. For instance I LOVE anything that has apples or apple flavoring in it. I also like eating almonds and peanuts, but don’t put them ‘in’ a food product. Blegh.

Do you have time to sit and prepare something

Is there a microwave available? Do you need hot water, cold water? Will the food require you to ‘mix’. If so do you have a container to mix it? This becomes very important for most of us nurses. We usually have none of the above.

Are you ‘on-the-run’

Uhm- yeah. This also applies to just about every nurse out there. So you need something portable, something preferably non-perishable and non-crushable. I don’t know about you but some ‘snacks’ get destroyed in my bag that I carry to work.

OK. Here is the ‘skinny’ on mid-morning snacks. (Yep -chose that word on purpose) The snack should be something with a decent amount of staying power (carbohydrates) and something that will sustain and maintain some amount of energy for the next 2-5 hours (protein). I won’t go into the miniscule details about carbs vs. protein. I’m simply saying stay away from the simple sugars. All those immediate release sugary substances are only good for one thing – their sweet taste, nothing more.

Let’s keep it simple.

  • Fruit, fruit and fruit. Everything from sliced to whole pieces of fruit. My two favorites are bananas and apples. You can carry and store them anywhere and everywhere. The bad part is you have to have some clean hands to eat them, so be careful about eating these while working on your unit. You could open these two up and cut them up? Or you could prepare them prior to work by slicing up the apple?

Also in the fruit category, blueberries, strawberries, heck any type of berry. You’ll have to prepare them ahead of time of course, and you are at the mercy of the time of the year, whether or not they are in season. So be careful.

  • Along the same course are nuts. Almonds are a GREAT source of energy, keep in mind they are low in carbs and have some fat content. I prefer these as a hunger-pang killer. A handful of these go a long way.
  • Another great source is anything-oatmeal. Oatmeal by itself, as a snack bar, an oatmeal mix, etc. Oatmeal is great in fiber, as well as a good carb source. I myself have oatmeal not only for my breakfast, but I have a ‘oatmeal bar’ mid-morning.

The one thing I would caution you on would be all those ’100 calorie’ snacks out there. They are great, don’t get me wrong, the problem is most will find out that the snack content for the 100 calories isn’t very good at satisfying your hunger, so you end up eating 2 or 3 of these snacks. Then there goes the 100 calories! Just be careful with this choice.

There is always the ‘shake’ option. You can either make your own shake, or buy one. In each case be careful with your choice of ‘shake’. Some shakes are high in simple sugars (fructose) and can be high in fat.

Last but not least be very, very, very leary of anything that advertises ‘low fat’ or ‘no fat’, most of the time they replace the lack of fat with sugar. Sugar is good if used properly by your body. If you consume an over abundance of sugar, meaning you have ‘left over’ sugar that your body doesn’t immediately need for fuel. Guess what happens to that sugar? It slowly gets converted into fat and fills up the fat stores in your body. Be careful. Many get ‘tricked’ into thinking that ‘low fat’ is there ticket to freedom, when in fact it does the opposite.

If anything, be sure to eat something! The last thing you should be doing is not eating. Not eating is simply not an option. Even if it’s a ‘bite’ of something, something is better than nothing.

So my three best mid-morning snacks:

  1. Fruit (I guess you could claim this is more than one option)
  2. Nuts
  3. Oatmeal

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
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25 Responses to 3 best mid-morning snacks for nurses

  1. Most of my overweight patients, when asked what they had for breakfast, say “Nothing, or a Coke”. No wonder they have a slow metabolism or overeat at lunch. “Where is that double cheeseburger, I am starved?”

    Love your suggestion re oatmeal, blueberries. Homemade snacks are usually more nutritious, and cheaper-which is my passion. Being healthy and saving money at the same time-a winning combo!

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Dr. Dean Thanks for commenting and visiting! I couldn’t agree with you more.

  3. Luisa

    I usually make my own Granola Bar (Substitute the sugar content with dry fruit). Easy recipe, and goes a long way… everyone whos tried it LOVES it!!!!

  4. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Luisa Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Shawnee LPN

    I’m a big fan of granola bars/fiber bars for a mid-morning snack. I also take yogurt (I have access to a fridge) and you can always use a tongue depressor if you forgot a spoon!

  6. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Shawnee I can’t say I’ve had to utilized the tongue depressor just yet! But, I’ll keep that in mind. :)

  7. Ana

    I agree. I’m a student right now and I NEVER leave the house without 1-2-3 apples with me (depending on the day). Bananas are great as well.
    Nuts are great!
    I love oatmeal snack bars, cookies, and everything else! :)
    Berries are expensive in the winter, but otherwise they’re great!
    And another great snack: Baby carrots! Small converiet, yummy!
    and these little red chese wheels too.
    :)

  8. Laura

    I am a huge fan of apples and peanut butter or celery and peanut butter. Yum!

  9. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Ana Great advice! Thanks for your suggestions. Keep up the great work, and best of luck with school!

  10. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Laura You and me both!

  11. Evelyn M. Fulcher

    Healthy Snacks go a long way and don’t leave you feeling unpleasant after snacking on them through out the day as needed for a little energy boost. I really enjoy the snack size packets of unsalted almonds purchased at B.J.’s Wholesale Club. It is a great source of protein and is heart healthy. It has the good fats for your health. I do enjoy salted almonds, but I don’t purchase them because I know too much salt is not a good thing and I don’t want to eat a snack that is going to leave me feeling bloated and by the evening unable to get my rings off because of too much salt consumption. I never purchased unsalted almonds until about a year ago and now I love them! I am used to it and it is quite enjoyable.

    Another great snack that I really enjoy and indulge in throughout the day and before bed sometimes….Blueberry’s. I absolutely love them! They are considered to be the #1 Brain Food. I buy them fresh and frozen. I eat them in a bowl, I even grind them and put them in any kind of drink that I am having…great tea with crushed blueberries is really good. But just to simply sit down with a bowl of plain fresh blueberries and enjoy each little bite is so enjoyable for me. I cannot get enough blueberries.

    So far the watermelons that I have purchased this season have been superb. Seedless is the best. I will cut them some of it up and put it into my Magic Bullet and make a cool fresh watermelon drink. No need to add any water or spritzer to it, the watermelon has enough of it’s own juices to make a delightful drink. Top it off with some fresh mint and go sit on the porch with your SPF 30 – 60 and enjoy the summer breeze, warm sun on your face and indulge in your mouth watering healthy drink.

  12. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    Great suggestions Evelyn! And how ironic I was just telling my wife how great the watermelons taste this year!
    Thanks for commenting.

  13. analee

    i take a ziplock bag of almonds and dried cranberries, they taste GREAT together!!! and an apple. They’re quick easy snacks, in case I don’t have time to actually sit down for a while and eat in peace. and they DEFINITELY keep me full for quite a while!!

  14. analee

    i take a ziplock bag of almonds and dried cranberries, they taste GREAT together!!! and an apple. They’re quick easy snacks, in case I don’t have time to actually sit down for a while and eat in peace. and they DEFINITELY keep me full for quite a while!!

    i also take those baby carrots!! yum yum yuuuum!!!!

  15. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @analee Great suggestions! Thanks.

  16. The perfect three-very healthy start for all-great job-we must remain healthy in minds, bodies and spirits as nurses!

  17. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Stephanie Well said!

  18. anne h.

    Well, well, well…. How I hate to go “against the GRAIN” here…. but since I switched to LoCarb, I’ve lost a ton of weight, and regained my life and my happiness. And enthusiasm for my Nursing.
    Fruit? LoFat stuff? Maybe not for everyone.
    Yep- where IS my double cheeseburger – hold the bun, of course! Make mine with cheese and bacon, please!

  19. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @anne h. Thanks for your input, I can’t say I’ll be trying your suggestion any time soon. :)

  20. Jeanie

    I carry individual almond or mixed nut packets, have a protien shake bottled ready to drink or some protien mix requiring water and a quick shake, gives a nice protien boost mid morning. I do try to eat some oatmeal before going to work, it hold me until lunch time.

  21. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Jeanie Great ideas! Keep up the great work.

  22. me

    There, their and they’re… just saying

  23. MahzieLPN80

    I have access to a refrigerator as well; low-fat string cheese and a banana work well for me. Oh, let’s not forget to keep ourselves hydrated, too!

  24. ndfan

    Great ideas….adding to it, don’t use the prepackaged oatmeals…these are typically high in sugar and refined carbs b/c they’re pre-flavored…ie..maple and brown sugar, fruit flavored. Pre-make the “all-natural” oatmeal like in the cannisters you remember your mom making you when you were growing up. Then take to work and heat up and add berries and a little honey or splenda. Great snack! Also, hummus and bell pepper slices are a great snack when you cant have lunch yet. :-)

  25. ndfan

    Also, “oatmeal snack bars” you have to be careful of too….again, the sugar, refined carbs and high-fructose corn syrup content…..try South Beach Diet snack bars though….they’re formulated with enough whole grains and sugar to give you the energy but not the sugar spikes that will drive you down later.