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Worldwide, International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May every year. The International Nurses Day theme for 2020 is 'Nurses: A voice to lead - Nursing the World to Health', which denotes how nurses are at the forefront in addressing a number of health challenges.
All around the world, nurses are working tirelessly to provide care and attention to the patients in need and during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis, their invaluable contributions are commendable.
Most nurses are working in gruelling shifts and by the time the day ends, they are already exhausted. Because of the erratic schedule, they tend to frequently skip their meals.
Here are some nutrition tips that would give them the much-needed energy and strength.
1. Plan your meals
Plan your meals ahead every week. Make a list of what healthy dishes to prepare at home. You can think of two healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner options and rotate those for several days. By planning ahead, you will have healthy well-balanced meals and save time throughout the week and will lower the risk of obesity .
2. Don’t skip meals
Avoid skipping a meal because when you skip a meal your body goes into a fasting mode, which slows down your metabolism and prevents the body from burning fat. Also, skipping your meals can have adverse side effects such as binge eating and impaired focus and concentration.
3. Avoid processed foods
Avoid processed foods and foods with artificial colours and trans fat because these foods are devoid of essential vitamins and minerals. Instead, focus on foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meat, nuts, eggs, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as they are rich in micronutrients and macronutrients.
4. Eat before your shift
Eat your main meal before going to work. Research studies have shown that having a healthy breakfast will increase your nutrient intake and provide energy to get you going throughout the day. A healthy breakfast for nurses is important and necessary as it will provide the much-needed energy to start the day right .
5. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water as it will help you stay alert and prevent tiredness during the shift. It will also aid in proper bowel function and regulate your body temperature. Avoid drinking sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks as they dehydrate your body and increase fatigue.
6. Relax when eating
Gruelling shifts and the added stress can make your meals less enjoyable. Enjoy eating your food and don't think of anything stressful while you are eating. Just relax, take a few breaths and focus on eating your food.
7. Have healthy snacks
Pack some healthy food items from your home such as dried fruits and nuts, granola bar, peanut butter and crackers to fuel you up with only a few bites. You can have these nutritious snacks in between meals to curb your hunger.
8. Have small meals instead of one large meal
If you have an afternoon shift, try to eat a nutritious meal before you start your shift. If you are working in a night shift, eat a light meal and avoid consuming a large meal as it may lead to improper digestion.
1. What should a nurse on a 12- hour shift eat?
A. Consume eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, fish, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
2. What do night shift nurses eat?
A. Nurses should consume smaller, light meals which consist of nuts, salads, fruits and vegetables.
On this International Nurses Day, we salute the nurses, the real heroes, who are at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis.