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5 Foods to Avoid Before your Shift

September 17, 2015

As a travel nurse, you will need a solid supply of energy and stamina for each of your shifts. Thus, to optimize your performance and stay on top of your game all day, you need to eat the right foods before you start working. Below are five foods you should avoid eating in the hours before your shift begins.

1. Candy, Cake & Cookies

Although a sugary treat may taste good, it doesn't provide the best nutritional value, especially if you are getting ready to start a nursing shift. Immediately after you eat this type of food, your blood sugar spikes and your body begins to produce high amounts of insulin.

This gives you a short-term energy boost, but shortly after you digest, your blood sugar will drop dramatically, and you will begin to feel sluggish. Unfortunately, this sluggish feeling will prevent you from being at your best during your shift.

Save a cookie for after your shift- as a reward or something to look forward to.

2. Foods with No Protein

Nurses often work long, difficult shifts. Since protein is great at keeping you feeling full, eating foods without a trace can leave you with hunger pangs only a few hours in.

Foods high in protein include meat, nuts, tofu, lentils and seeds.

3. Foods that Cause Indigestion or Gas

When you are going to be busy and on your feet for the next eight hours, the last thing you will want to deal with is indigestion or gas. Avoid any foods that may cause cramping, gas, heartburn or any other uncomfortable symptoms you won't want to experience while you are trying to work.

Foods that commonly cause indigestion include ground beef, fried meat, and foods high in fat.

Foods that can cause painful gas include broccoli, cauliflower, beans, and carbonated beverages. 

4. Foods with Offensive Odors

It's also a good idea to avoid any foods with ingredients that may give you bad breath during your shift. Examples include foods that contain large amounts of garlic, onions or other potent ingredients. If you must eat foods with strong odors, be sure to brush your teeth well and/or bring some breath mints with you to work.

In other words, skip the pesto and/or salsa and invest in some minty gum!

5. Heavily caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine is an excellent pick-me-up for nurses beginning an early shift or a night shift. However, drinking too much caffeine can make you feel jittery at work. In addition, caffeine also acts as a diuretic, which means that it encourages urination. Thus, if you drink too much caffeine before your shift, you may spend the entire day running to the bathroom.

Try hot or iced tea instead of a double latte with an extra shot.

Eating the right foods before work will help your workdays to go more smoothly, while the wrong foods will keep you feeling tired and uncomfortable all day (or night) long. Avoid the foods above to be at your best during every shift.

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