March is National Nutrition Month and to celebrate, Fastaff is sharing tips to keep you running at full speed so you can continue to provide high-quality patient care and feel good doing it. With your busy travel nurse schedule it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of nourishing your body. Below are a few tips to help you maintain your healthiest self. We’ve also included personal tips from nurses just like you to provide some inspiration to kick-start your nutrition.
Hydration is key
To maintain a healthy body, the average person requires 30 to 50 ounces of fluid (1 to 1.5 liters) every day, according to Harvard Health. Drinking enough water every day helps carry vital nutrients from your food to your cells, promotes toxin flushing, and keeps your body functioning properly. Keep in mind that your body can receive fluid from the foods you consume as well. According to Harvard Health, foods rich in water include salads, fruits, and applesauce.
On Fastaff’s Facebook page, we asked nurses for their nutrition tips when they’re constantly on the move at work and in their personal lives. On the topic of hydration, one nurse said, “When you’re working as a house shift supervisor, you are everywhere, which makes it difficult to eat or drink during your shift.” She further stresses the importance of utilizing hydration stations that are typically placed around the hospital, saying, “Drink up, folks. Water [makes up] 70% of our bodies and runs so much. Find ways to get plenty – this has helped me so much…drink stations have become my friend.”
Food is fuel
When asked her nutrition tips via Facebook, one nurse said, “I make sure what I put into my mouth will benefit me nutrition wise. I eat organic foods, nothing fried (because of the poor quality of oil), I do not eat fast food, and I make my meals at home. I also take vitamins, exercise, and drink lots of water.” Eat Right – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating often throughout the day, honoring your hunger and fullness cues, and eating a balanced meal of whole grains, lean protein, fiber-filled fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats to fuel your body and give it energy.
Receive essential vitamins from your food
According to Family Doctor.org, many micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium can be supplied to your body via the food you consume. Common sources of essential vitamins such as vitamin C can be found in fruits (strawberries, oranges, pineapple, and mango, to name a few). Vitamin D can also be supplied by consuming fatty fish such as salmon and canned tuna.
One nurse on Facebook says he has three basic fruit staples in his diet: oranges, apples, and bananas. He also says, “I bumped up my vegetable intake as well and load up before work and in the middle of my shift. I take a snack [to work] that includes some banana chips and tea.”
With a few key additions to your diet such as drinking more water and adding more fruits and vegetables, you can ensure your body is ready to keep up with all the demands you may face on a typical shift, as well as the demands placed on you in your personal life.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to ensure you nourish your body during your shift, visit our “Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits” blog, which provides creative ideas for packing food for the day for on-the-go nurses like you.
Sources: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated, https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/eating-to-boost-energy, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated