Easy Healthy Snacks for Nurses
Long shifts are often a trademark of the nursing profession, whether it’s during the daylight hours or for the infamous night shift. It’s important for nurses to stay alert and focused throughout the entire shift, and this can be made even more difficult by hunger pains or blood sugar fluctuations. Having the right nutrition during your shifts is important to keep your energy levels stable so you can think and act quickly without mental grogginess or feeling physically sluggish. We’ve compiled a list of easy snacks that you can make on-the-go and feel assured you are giving your body the boost it needs to power through your shift.
Dates and Peanut Butter
Simply slice the date length-wise (not all the way through) and remove the pit, then spoon some peanut butter in the middle! Bonus points if you sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
While not technically classified as a superfood, dates come pretty close. They are loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin B, iron, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. In addition to this, dates have a low-glycemic index, which means they are less likely to spike your blood sugar levels than other sweet snacks. This makes them a safe choice for diabetics as well or people trying to monitor their glucose levels. The high fiber content will help slow your digestion and keep you energized for longer during your daily tasks.
Peanut butter is a high-fat, high-protein, energy-dense food. It will keep you feeling full for longer without craving your next meal. When combined with dates, this power duo will give you the long-lasting, slow-burning fuel you need to push through those 12 hours. Plus, while this snack is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, it tastes like it should be dessert!
Greek Yogurt with Cashews and Berries
Spoon some Greek yogurt (flavored or plain) into a container and top with cashews and berries. If you like your yogurt bowl a little sweeter, toss in some honey or dark chocolate bits!
Did you know that cashews are linked to reduced anxiety and stress? They have high levels of tryptophan, which is associated with increased serotonin production within the body. Plus, they are high in healthy fats which helps you stay full for longer without feeling stuffed or bloated. Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is high in protein and calcium which helps keep stable energy levels throughout the day and promotes healthy bones. Greek yogurt is also high in probiotics, which is linked to better gut health as well as having mental health benefits!
While any fruit of choice would make a good addition to this bowl, berries are known to be especially high in antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage, while fiber helps to support healthy digestion and keeps you feeling satiated for longer.
Whole Wheat Pasta, Broccoli, and Chicken Sausage
Simply boil your whole wheat pasta of choice until al dente while sautéing broccoli and sliced chicken sausage in a second pan to cook them through. For an even easier meal, buy microwavable frozen broccoli and ready-to-eat chicken sausage and just heat according to package directions. Top with a little salt, olive oil, and some pepper for a tasty treat, or add your favorite pasta sauce!
Whole-wheat pasta is higher in nutrients than regular pasta while being lower in calories. It has a high fiber content, which as previously mentioned is key to increasing satiety over longer periods while keeping energy levels stable. Plus, the carbohydrates in whole wheat pasta will give your body fuel to jumpstart into the second part of your shift! Broccoli is even higher in vitamins, boasting impressive levels of iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and many others. It’s always good to get your greens, and mixing it in with a satisfying bowl of chicken and pasta makes it even tastier. Chicken sausage is high in protein, which complements the carbohydrates in the whole-wheat pasta. It is also lower in fat than the traditional pork sausage, while being just as delicious.
Sliced Vegetables and Hummus
You can buy whole veggies and slice yourself, or you can buy a ready-made party pack of sliced vegetables and separate them into different bags for an easy snack on the go. We recommend sliced carrots, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery as our top picks, but any vegetables will be delicious here! Scoop some hummus into a container and you are ready to go.
Raw vegetables are typically high in Vitamin C and other nutrients, as well as being high in fiber. Eating raw veggies has been associated with improving skin and digestive health as well, due to their high water and vitamin content. The high water content makes this snack especially beneficial for nightshift workers, as people often find themselves feeling dehydrated much more quickly.
Hummus is primarily made from chickpeas, which makes this a high protein pairing with your veggies. Hummus is also linked with fighting inflammation and improving digestion so you can feel your best while constantly on the move.
Avocado and Feta Toast
While you can eat an avocado straight out of the shell with a spoon for a quick boost, it makes a delicious and hearty snack when put on toast. If you have it on hand, top with some feta cheese and a quick drizzle of lemon juice for a Mediterranean-inspired pairing.
Avocado is long-hailed as a powerhouse food, being high in healthy fats and almost 20 vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in Vitamin K and is associated with bone health and higher energy levels. Feta cheese is also a good source of both niacin and Vitamin B12, which helps our bodies get energy from the foods we eat. Whole-wheat toast will provide energy from the carbohydrates, plus it’s a great vehicle for eating our avocado!