3 best mid-morning snacks for nurses
*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:
- Fruit (I guess you could claim this is more than one option)
I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!
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).
By Sean Dent