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What’s healthy eating REALLY all about for nurses?


iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

Elizabeth “Coach” Scala, an RN and owner of Living Sublime Wellness, recently blogged about nutrition and healthfulness for The Nerdy Nurse. We love what she had to say! Check out her advice below:

We’re so busy we barely have time to eat. Eating healthy isn’t just about nutritious foods. Healthy intake and how we actually experience the meal may matter even more.

Did you know that there’s more that goes into eating healthy than just the food itself? And we easily succumb to “bad food choices” when we are unconscious during a meal. So what’s this issue all about? What is the problem we as nurses face with eating…that has nothing to do with food?

We’re all so busy!

We have no time to eat. And quite frankly, food marketers have made it easy for us to live this way. There are vending machines, drive-thrus and coffee stands all over the place that enable us to grab-and-go. I see it every day: Nurses bring lunch to meetings, skip meals, or eat standing up, in between patients, while checking orders. My own boss says to me, “Let me just have a bite of this sandwich and we can head off to that meeting…” leaving the rest to finish off later.

What does mindful eating look like? How is it done? Well, here’s a quick video that I created on mindful eating, but I also want to share with you some other components for you to ponder today:

Eliminate Distractions. Turn off the radio, the TV, the internet. Log off of email, Facebook, or YouTube for a moment. Put down the book, magazine, homework or nursing journal. Eat your meal in a quiet, calm and peaceful space.

Slow Down. As you eat, make sure you are breathing. Put down the fork; it’s not a shovel. Completely chew your food. Between bites and swallows, take breaks. Allow the oxygen to help you with the digestion process.

Create a Ritual. In the past, our ancestors sat down for meals, created ceremony around them, dressed up, washed up, and eating was seen as ritual. Notice how you eat and start to reflect on your own habits. Who do you usually eat with? Do you typically do anything else during your meals? How does your food taste? Do you enjoy your food? What did you think when you eat? Notice your mood when you come to a meal. How do you usually decide you’re done eating? How do you usually feel after your meals?

These are just some of my suggestions. You may even come up with more of your own. The point is to minimize–as best you can–the eating in the car, on-the-go, standing up, or between patients type of lifestyle. Be present for the eating experience. Enjoy and taste the food.

To read the rest of the article, head on over to The Nerdy Nurse. Then, in the comments below, give us your own advice for eating and living well!

Elizabeth Scala
Spiritual Practice Nurse Elizabeth Scala is on a mission to transform the profession of nursing from the inside out. Individuals typically enter nursing with a desire to provide compassionate, heart-based care. Challenged by regulations, financial pressures and technological advancements, today’s nurse struggles to balance the art with the science of nursing. As a speaker, trainer, facilitator and author, Elizabeth inspires nursing teams to reconnect with the passionate and fulfilling joy that once called them to their career.; Back to the Basics: A Nurse's Pocket Guide to Self-Care

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