110 smart snacks for nurses

Substitutions for old standbys
Even tried-and-true snacks like a carton of yogurt or a handful of almonds can get old if you have them day after day. Here are some tasty alternatives:

o If you’re sick of energy bars…try graham crackers with unsweetened applesauce.
o If you’re sick of raisins…try dried mango, pineapple or dates.
o If you’re sick of yogurt and fruit…try a smoothie made in a blender with vanilla yogurt, frozen peaches and a dash of cinnamon.
o If you’re sick of celery and peanut butter…try celery and spreadable cheese.
o If you’re sick of crackers and cheese…try crackers with mashed avocado.
o If you’re sick of a bagel and cream cheese…try a bagel with melted Parmesan (eat at room temp or reheat at work).
o If you’re sick of roasted peanuts or almonds…try pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) spiced with cayenne, cumin and chili powder.
o If you’re sick of traditional raisin, almond and peanut trail mix…try making yours with dried cherries, dried strawberries, pretzels, shelled pistachios and sunflower seeds.
o If you’re sick of potato chips (or wish you could have more, but don’t want the fat and calories)…try one of these variations:

  • Beet crisps: Toss thinly sliced beets with canola or olive oil; salt lightly and bake at 350 degrees F until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Sweet potato chips: Toss peeled, thinly sliced sweet potatoes with canola oil or olive oil; salt lightly and bake at 400 degrees F until crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Apple crisps: Toss thinly sliced Granny Smith apple with canola oil and a little light brown sugar; bake at 250 degrees F until crisp, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Kale chips: Toss bite-size pieces of kale (center ribs removed, if large) with olive oil; salt lightly and bake at 425 degrees F until crisp, about 15 minutes.

Overhaul Your Snack Track

As a nurse, you’re probably no stranger to snacking. In fact, maybe you snack all the time—not necessarily a good thing. “In high-stress occupations, people often end up stress-eating or losing track of healthy eating basics,” says Jennifer Nelson, MS, RD, director of clinical dietetics/nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “This is especially true of nurses who don’t work a standard 8-to-5 day. They often eat mindlessly and skip meals.” While snacking can help keep hunger at bay so you don’t end up ravenous and overeat when you finally do have a meal, it shouldn’t replace three squares.

One way to see if your snacking has gotten out of hand is to write down everything you eat for three days. “Then turn the trained eye you use on your patients on yourself so you get a reality check,” says Nelson. “Make sure you eat before you go to work, then actually take your break and eat something decent, instead of spending the time charting then grabbing something from the vending machine.”

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