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Is there anything worse than that mid-shift slump? You’re feeling energized through those first few hours, answering call lights like a boss, charting on pointe, and feeling like you could go all day. Then, it hits. You need some quick energy, or a boost from caffeine, right?

That would be a big NO! If you want to make it through your shift, and stay on top of your nursing game, artificial stimulants are a bad idea. Healthy, energizing food works best to fuel your body, and get you through your marathon shift. And, when your shift is over, rest will be much more restorative without caffeine coursing through your system.

Eat to Keep Energized

There’s no magic formula to help you stay energized all day. Even the healthiest individuals will experience ebbs and flows of endurance and focus throughout their shifts. However, when you eat the right snacks you can maintain your stamina, stay sharp, and power through until time to clock out.

Protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber provide all the right long-lasting nutrients that keep you going for hours. The protein keeps you satisfied, and the complex carbs provide an instant boost when you need it most. Long-digesting fiber keeps you fuller, longer. Throw in a rainbow of fruits and veggies and you’ll have everything you need to keep your pace strong, all day long.

Snacks

There was once a school-of-thought which suggested in order to eat a healthy diet, you must remove between-meal snacking from your day. Nutritionists and doctors concur that this is false. Eliminating snacks can cause the ravenous hunger and fatigue that leads to pounding down an entire bag of cheese doodles while waiting for your soup to warm.

Instead of starving yourself, try snacking on these healthy options throughout your day. You’ll stay centered and satisfied between breaks when you feed your hunger with healthy snacks.

Nuts-these protein powerhouses are the perfect snack for on-the-go nurses. Although once considered high in fat and calories, the oils contained in tree nuts are linked to lower cholesterol,leading to better heart health. Not only that, but nature’s perfect snack will fill you up and can even lower your risk of cancer. If you’re afraid you may over serve yourself in the nut department, opt for the prepackaged 100-calorie servings.

Eggs-Eggs are an eggs-cellent choice when you need a snack with some pick-me-up. Although they have a reputation for increasing cholesterol, recent studies say eggs are not the no-no they once were. Eggs pack plenty of protein into only 76 calories, and hardboiled eggs are easy to make and eggs-tremely portable.

Fruit-When that mid afternoon-or night time-sugar jones comes to call, don’t give in to the break room cookies, cupcakes, or donuts. Opt for a sweet treat from mother nature. Apples, berries, and bananas are wonderful ways to tame the sugar beast, and will satisfy you until your next break.

Greek Yogurt-ounce for ounce, plain greek yogurt is a nutrient rich bargain. Rich and creamy, the mouth feel is quite decadent. But low-fat or fat free, greek yogurt is only around 100 calories. The tart flavor s5ands alone, or can be made sweet by adding honey, or used as a savory dip for celery sticks, or whole grain pita triangles, by adding herbs, and even some cucumber.

Low-Fat Cheese-Cheese is another protein-dense food that tends to be avoided because of the high-fat, high-calorie content. Low-fat cheeses are a great snack, and paired with whole grain crackers and a serving of grapes, can keep you quite satisfied. Look for low-fat swiss, or cheddar varieties, as well as some spreadable cheeses, to enjoy.

Stay Healthy and Energized

In addition to eating the right foods to fuel you for the long-haul, it’s wise to keep hydrated. Bring a thermos of infused mineral water from home. No need for sweeteners. You want the flavorful zip of cucumber and mint, or lemon and basil. Although, in the moment , a sugary, chemical-laden soft drink, or caffeinated beverage may sound more appealing, you’ll feel much worse after the initial energy buzz wears off. An herb-infused water provides the right hydration and a flavorful pick-me-up to power through those long shifts.

Staying fueled by eating healthy, naturally energizing foods won’t just carry you through your day. These clean protein, and fiber-rich energizing foods will keep you going for a lifetime. Pack these 5 foods to keep you energized throughout your day in your lunch box, and you’ll get through your shift-and all the days ahead-no matter what comes your way.

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