This article was provided by Jackson Nurse Professionals.
42% of nurses are skipping their lunch and dinner breaks during the pandemic, putting their health at risk for the care of their patients. Pandemic or not, the job of a nurse is both physically and mentally draining, so it’s critically important to keep your body and mind running at peak efficiency throughout your shift.
While it may be hard to find the motivation to pack a meal in your backpack each day, we’ve got a quick and simple solution that can help you save money and stay energized: meal prepping. It takes just one hour on your day off to cook and package powerhouse meals that can last your entire workweek.
What makes a high-energy meal?
Your mid-shift meal is a particularly difficult meal to get right. Too much food – particularly starchy and rich meals – can leave you feeling sluggish and ready for a nap. An underwhelming portion can have the same effect or leave you in a constant state of being “hangry.”
Ultimately, the perfect power-packed meal is all about balance. According to Mom’s Kitchen Handbook, you want a combination of high-quality carbohydrates, good fats, and protein. Carbs are the body’s go-to energy source, providing the vitamins and minerals needed to stay on your feet. Good fats, like nuts and avocados, and proteins, such as chicken or fish, are digested slowly and help keep you satisfied longer.
Creating a meal with this trifecta in mind makes for an energizing, nutrient-rich meal that’s ideal for a mid-shift pick-me-up.
Customized power bowls
You’ll never get tired of these power bowls from Oh She Glos because you can customize them each week. These healthy lunches are created by roasting two huge sheets of veggies, a grain, and fresh vegetables, then adds beans, nuts, or avocados, depending on the flavor profile. This is one of many great meals for travel nurses.
Chicken with cauliflower rice
If you want a low-carb recipe, prep this lunch from prevention replaces a traditional grain with cauliflower rice. While they recommended it be served with grilled or baked chicken, this would also go well with fish as the main protein.
Hearty vegetarian chili with butternut squash
This recipe from Food Network is sure to warm you up. Beans and corn are a hearty substitute for meat, but feel free to add chicken in for some additional protein. Cook up a pot and keep it in the fridge or freeze it for an entire week’s worth of meals.
Chicken shawarma bowl
Cooking Light boasts that this flavor-packed recipe can be created in only 15 minutes. Chicken cooked in a garlicky, tahini-spiked yogurt and served over your grain of choice is a warm spicy meal your taste buds will be grateful for.
Now that your meal plans are in place, we recommend sitting down with one of these great books on travel nursing, recommended by Katherine Rundell.