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Eating plans for overweight shift nurses

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The word “nursing,” derived from the Latin nutrire, means “to nourish.” Unfortunately, as you nourish your patients, you might actually overnourish yourself, consuming too many calories and packing on pounds.

And evening shift nurses have it particularly hard.

Here, from the Winter 2011 issue of Scrubs, is how to outsmart the nurse-specific challenges that stand between you and your thinner self.

Perfect Timing

Working the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift? Try these eating plans:

SCHEDULE #1

  • Dinner at home around 6 p.m. Snack at midnight
  • Lunch between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.
  • Snack sometime before you head home
  • Breakfast between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
  • Gentle exercise, such as tai chi or yoga, and/or relax for about one hour before going to sleep

SCHEDULE #2

  • Breakfast in the afternoon when you wake up
  • Dinner at 9 p.m.
  • Lunch at 1 a.m.
  • Snack at 4 a.m. This allows you three to four hours to digest before you go to sleep.

Mobile Munchies

  • Keep these healthy snacks on hand, eat every three or four hours and you’ll be able to keep your blood sugar—and your metabolism—from plummeting.
  • Rice crackers with almond butter or natural peanut butter
  • Whole-grain (6-inch) tortilla with 1/4 cup fat-free refried beans
  • No-sugar-added, nonfat yogurt with a piece of fruit or handful of raw nuts
  • String cheese or cubes of your favorite cheese (could be “light”)
  • Canned “light” (and preferably “lowsodium”) soups
  • Whole-grain cereal (6 grams or less of sugar per serving) and 1/4 cup of raw nuts
  • Raw seeds and nuts
  • Cut-up vegetables and fruit

Get in the know about the common pitfalls of gaining weight on the job. Pick up the latest issue of Scrubs Magazine and read Gary Scholar’s article, “Top 10 reasons nurses get fat.”

USED WITH PERMISSION. EXCERPTED FROM FIT NURSE: YOUR TOTAL PLAN FOR GETTING FIT AND LIVING WELL, PUBLISHED 2010, © THE HONOR SOCIETY OF NURSING, SIGMA THETA TAU INTERNATIONAL.

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Gary Scholar

Gary Scholar, MED, is a health and wellness expert, teacher, researcher and contributor to Voice of Nursing Leadership and American Nurse Today. Scholar is the author of "Fit Nurse: Your Total Plan for Getting Fit and Living Well" .
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One Response to Eating plans for overweight shift nurses

  1. Penny Wiltz

    When working nights ,found it very helpful to have good protein foods available. Essential to have protein food just before going on shift as likelihood of next meal could be anywhere form 23:00 to 2:00 am. Protein will stay with you longer and give more sustained energy.

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