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My eating/drinking is bad on work days


Has 3 years experience.

I’ll have maybe a few sips of coffee and water in the morning, then a protein bar for lunch or some turkey cold cuts, a cup of coffee, and at the end of my shift I’ll drink a bottle of water (very very thirstily!!)

But work is busy and with covid we don’t keep any drinks out near the nurses stations anymore. I don’t think about going to the break room other than my 30 min lunch break. I also tend to get sleepy if I eat too much carbs! We used to get a lot more food donations when covid started but not so much now.

How are you guys doing with drinking and eating enough? Do you make yourself drink every hour or so? What do you bring for lunch?


Specializes in Psyche Nursing, Med/Surg, LTAC.

Protein shakes are a nurse's friend...I always keep some in my locker in case I just don't have 30 minutes. Shake it up, drink, fuel in my tank! Don't drink a lot of water because then I'll need the restroom.

My problem is when I finally get home I'm tired and then I eat too much!

NightNerd, MSN, RN

Specializes in CMSRN, tele, palliative, psych. Has 7 years experience.

Oh man, I would not be able to handle my shifts without eating and drinking...I get soooooo hangry! LOL, in my hospital we have a hydration station on each unit, which basically just means we all have our water bottles in a nook, on the floor and accessible but still away from heavy foot traffic. That definitely helps me stay hydrated. And no matter what, I always take some kind of lunch break, even if it's not the full time we're entitled to. I either prepare a batch of food on my off days to bring in - veggie lasagna, salad with boiled eggs or shredded chicken, etc. - or just let myself buy something in the cafeteria. Anything to keep some energy available for the entire twelve hours.

My problem now is eating breakfast. I am just not hungry when I wake up at 0530. I make myself eat a couple bites of something but feel so yucky I can't eat a whole lot befor going to work. Then by the time report is done I'm starving! I need to think of some kind if breakfast food to bring and inhale ten minutes before huddle, or just find a way to survive until whenever I can fit a break in.


Specializes in LTC.

NightNerd - Carry a GOOD nutrition cookie or 2 with you. The protein kind.

CharleeFoxtrot, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

13 hours ago, NurseScribe said:

Protein shakes are a nurse's friend...I always keep some in my locker in case I just don't have 30 minutes. Shake it up, drink, fuel in my tank! Don't drink a lot of water because then I'll need the restroom.

My problem is when I finally get home I'm tired and then I eat too much!

Just an FYI, watch the ingredients on those protein shakes, especially those for dieting. Some have a lot of insoluble fiber, prebiotics like Inulin and artificial sweeteners such as maltitol. All of which when combined can cause some unexpected GI upset-you'll be taking bathroom breaks whether or not you want to 😣

I work in a nursing home, so we have water/coffee just short distance away from our med carts.

I have been bad about hydrating as well, not because I can't access the fluids, but because we are so understaffed I end up running from one hall to another in a frenzy, trying to accomplish as much as I can with the little staff we have.

Also I have noticed it is a pain the behind to drink anything and having to remove your PPE ( mask, face shield) Forget about it if I work in Covid unit, I really don't take any breaks , sometimes not even my 30. Theoretically we are lucky we run on 8 hour shifts, but lately those 8 hours turned into 16 due to lack of relief.

These are horrible times we are living in. My patients are so sick/worried/alone, many times I forget about myself when at work. I only remember when I start feeling dizzy.

One of my co workers has 1-2 bottles of lemon water a shift , she makes a point to drink it, whether she feels like it or not. I know I should do the same, but everything is so hectic, sometimes I forget to breathe properly.

I don't see an end to this, I don't know how we will ever conquer this virus. We just have to take it a day at a time and survive I guess.


Specializes in LTC.

NewRN - positive thoughts your way.

Take care of yourself because if you don't ...

I drink a protein shake, bring a healthy frozen meal for lunch, and drink water. I have water at the nurses station. It’s kind of crazy not to. We need to hydrate. 12 hours is a long time.

antowas, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Nephrology. Has 6 years experience.

Two things -

The Oats Overnight Shake



My husband got me both of these because I was skipping all meals and was ravenous by the time I got home. The Oats Overnight are kind of like a drinkable oatmeal with crunchy/chewy add ins for texture. Delicious, keeps you full all day, and can be consumed in minutes if your crushed for time. The serving size gives you pretty good nutrition, 290ish calories, 20 grams of vegetarian protein from peas, fiber, and superfood add ins like maca, seeds, and cacao nibs. I recommend trying a variety of flavors because the ones I thought I wouldn’t like ended up being my favorite!

The Promeal Bars are incredible. They are so delicious! Soft & chewy. Get the variety pack and have a new flavor experience each shift. Incredible nutrition: 350-450 calories, 10 ish grams of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They also have super food add ins like seeds, greens, and fruit.

A few other favs for me are verb energy bars, but they are too pricy and sometimes I don’t get a break until late in the day when I no longer want caffeine. I drink Lyfe Fuel every day and have way more energy through the day and have noticed clearer skin and better mood. It is not the tastiest though.

direw0lf, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

Thanks for sharing ideas in the replies!

I had tried protein shakes before but the ones I tried were $$$ so I'll need to find a better priced brand.

I really like how the promeals look! I have a kinda sensitive stomach, so I need to be careful about what I eat and drink. Too much fiber or milk can do me in! So I'll check out the ingredients!

Simon C

Specializes in LTC, NEUROLOGY, REHAB. Has 46 years experience.

I'm a nurse in the NHS UK. We have a 30 min lunch break - so no time to get to the canteen much less sit and eat in peace. I tend to drink a lot before work...very unhealthy stuff like triple shot iced coffee and high caffeine soda's. No time for anything during the shift while on the floor. Lunch is a VERY quick basic sandwich at best with a couple more iced coffee or milk. Nothing after that until home.

direw0lf, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

Update: I really love the probars, very filling! I got the berry and greens flavor.

but I’m still not able to drink until around 4pm. I don’t mind eating that late but I wish I could drink.

So I’ve been making sure I drink 16 oz before I work. Then hold on the pee 😂