Have you ever been in the middle of your shift and your energy levels just totally plummet?
Maybe you're doing patient care 45 minutes after your lunch break, and it just hits you like a ton of bricks...and you don't recover until around dinner time!
This has happened to all of us! And it's no fun whatsoever - nothing saps our mood worse!
So let's avoid that! The Nurses Only Club is committed to making our nurses healthier and more empowered.
And as part of that, we want you to feel energetic and amazing throughout your entire shift.
Remember - a healthy body creates a healthy mind. When you eat right you feel better, and it makes a huge difference on your mood and well-being...even if things are really tough at work.
So here are 4 ways to stop your energy from crashing at work:
1) Be very mindful of your carbohydrates
Any time someone is complaining of energy swings throughout the day, we're looking at carbohydrate intake first and foremost.
Quality carbs are an absolute must! Think green vegetables and lower glycemic carbohydrates like sweet potatoes.
Remember, the Glycemic Index (GI Index) is a measurement of how long it takes carbohydrates to be broken down into glucose in your body, thus how much they spike your blood sugar.
We don't believe it's the perfect measurement (and remember, if you eat a lot of low GI carbs it will have a big effect on your blood sugar) but it's an excellent start.
Other Low GI carbs include:
- Legumes: Chickpeas, baked beans, kidney beans
- Pasta: Rice noodles, soba noodles, vermicelli noodles
- Rice: Brown rice, Basmati, Doongara, and long-grain
- Starchy veggies: Sweet potatoes, corn, yams
- Virtually all greens
- Fruits: tomatoes, strawberries, apples, bananas, blueberries, etc
- Grains: Quinoa, oatmeal, barley (please be aware of having too many grains, or any at all if you're gluten sensitive, which many in our population are and don't even realize)
Please be aware that while many fruits are good, many other types (especially dried ones like raisins) spike your blood sugar and crash your energy levels.
Also please know that granola bars and similar items are not healthy carbs.
We know it makes it easy to eat on the go, and one here and there won't kill you, but because they're highly refined they spike your blood sugar levels and cause a crash later. If you have one, we recommend you only eat one for a slight boost if you can't get your bigger meal in time.
You may hate to hear this, but processed foods in general are full of ingredients that are just not good for you. And processed carbs are among the worst.
We strongly advise avoiding processed foods as much as possible and focusing on healthy, all natural foods - even if it isn't always easy! Trust us, your body and mind will thank you for caring of it!
Also, please watch your bread intake. Almost all bread is highly refined (and loaded with gluten) and will have a big effect on your blood sugar levels. If you eat a sandwich for lunch and you routinely crash, try something else for a few days and see what happens.
Lastly, please understand that for most people, high amounts of carbs are not necessary!
They help fuel our most intense exercises, sure, but generally speaking the more you eat the more you risk your energy levels spiking, and experiencing an awful crash 30-45 minutes later.
2) Eat healthy fat
Fat naturally takes longer to digest than any other macro nutrient.
This can be a bad thing if you eat a very high fat meal with a lot of calories, since it takes a long time to digest if you can time your meals reasonably well this can be great!
A meal with fat means carbs take longer to digest and break down, meaning less of a roller coaster effect on your blood sugar, and thus your energy as well.
The healthiest fats you can eat include olive oil and coconut oil, plus omega 3's found in fish oil.
Healthy fats includes sources from:
- Avocadoes (awesome and easy to take at work)
- Lean beef
3) Don't eat too much at once
As nurses, we all know that digestion forces our body to divert blood to our digestive system and away from everywhere else.
But sometimes we overlook the consequences of this on our own bodies.
Eating too much at once means we feel sluggish while we digest. It often becomes harder to think clearer, and it can have a very strong effect on our mood and energy levels.
For this reason you have to be aware of how much you can eat before you start feeling this way, so you can avoid it!
If you routinely have a large meal and feel sluggish after, especially if it's very high in fats and carbs, try eating less at once for a day and see how you feel after. You just need to test things for yourself!
4) Focus on protein
Protein is the most satiating macro nutrient by far.
Thus a bigger focus on more protein makes it easier to avoid overeating sugar and refined carbs. It also preserves and builds muscle, which raises your metabolism and keeps it easier to stay in better shape!
Note that protein does have a mild effect on blood sugar, but rarely is it enough to make a significant difference.
Lean protein sources include:
- Lean beef
- A protein shake (great with fruit, especially fresh fruit using our awesome portable Babe Blender)
What's the best way to store your healthy meals at work?
Lastly, the easiest way to store your healthy meals and keep them warm at work is our unique Babe Box! pictured above)
The Babe Box has been called "a true game changer for nurses trying to eat healthier!" It's broken into multiple compartments and lets you eat a nice, warm, healthy meal at any time of the day, and is especially good for so many of the foods we listed above, like salads, rice, fruit, chicken, and a lot more!
If you follow the above tips you will have much more stable energy levels, leading to a greater feeling of confidence at work!
Please our articles with anyone who might need it.
And remember, the Nurses Only Club is the brand that looks out for nurses like you, because nobody else does!