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What do you eat during your shifts?

Nurses   (823 Views | 14 Replies)

socal212 has 1 years experience .

478 Profile Views; 19 Posts

I work 12 hour night shifts, between 3 and 5 a week (usually 5, lol).  So I'm at work a lot.  I am not too experienced at cooking nor am I really able to afford to buy a lot of groceries to meal prep or cook before work.  I really struggle with this topic because I feel like I'm always hungry at work.  I don't know if it's the night shift aspect or what.  I have been spending way too much money in the cafeteria lately (that payroll deduction makes it sooo easy).  So I guess I'm looking for advice or suggestions on what to eat at work?  Ideally I would bring food I made at home but it never seems to taste as good at work, haha.    

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Animal House R.N. has 23 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LVN and specializes in Geriatircs/Rural Hospitals.

57 Posts; 1,134 Profile Views

ok. I have the same problem. A lot of times when you eat at night it is because you are tired. I have found high protein helps. Tuna fish, boiled eggs, high fiber rice crisps, oranges, and bananas. Also up your water intake, because none of drink enough water. 😊 Umm....cheese sticks and sausage sticks of some kind, like bison or turkey. Hope this helps.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

4 Followers; 2,761 Posts; 11,360 Profile Views

8 hours ago, Animal House R.N. said:

ok. I have the same problem. A lot of times when you eat at night it is because you are tired. I have found high protein helps. Tuna fish, boiled eggs, high fiber rice crisps, oranges, and bananas. Also up your water intake, because none of drink enough water. 😊 Umm....cheese sticks and sausage sticks of some kind, like bison or turkey. Hope this helps.

Balance Bars (the double chocolate are the bomb) if you can tolerate soy, some kind of plant-based protein shake that's prepackaged, prepackaged apple slices?

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12 Followers; 3,981 Posts; 30,129 Profile Views

Is it possible that if you can afford cafeteria food you could afford meal prep or bringing snacks from home?

I can't eat anything other than snacks and very light meal at work. Almonds, small greek yogurt parfait, small/medium salad, cheese/crackers, fresh fruit, fresh fruit, more fresh fruit, cottage cheese, fresh veggies w/ hummus, bean/rice combo + whatever you might want to add in, quinoa/brown rice+add ins, homemade soup (easy), 1/2 PB&J (or fruit spread) or apple/celery & PB, hard-boiled egg, veggie wrap (or whatever you want in a wrap), various trail mix or energy bites, bean/cheese quesadilla (using regular taco size tortillas, not huge), etc. 

If you commit to learning to make a few different meals, your options are even more increased since then you can take small portions of leftovers to work, too. Check out recipes for weeknight dinners, these tend to be quicker and easier to prepare in general.

 

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1,156 Posts; 7,849 Profile Views

When I was on nights I did fruit, vegetables, and nuts.  I always tried to eat light as heavy food weighed me down and made me tired.

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verene is a MSN and specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

1,599 Posts; 10,036 Profile Views

If you can buy food at the cafeteria every shift - you can probably afford to meal prep.  I found breaking my meals into a number of small items that I could quickly eat if need be to be the best. Protein as others have noted is good - it helps with energy - think nuts, protein bars, nut butters, meat, soy-protien, and eggs. I like to buy a dozen eggs and hard boil them  as a batch and peel and store in cold water in the fridge. Not much effort to prep and a couple make for a good breakfast or a nice addition to lunch.

I also really like fruits and veggies - these are easy to snack on and help to add a little hydration into your day that isn't just from water. Berries (dried or fresh), and veggie sticks are a good snack or side to a meal. Things like apples, bananas, and oranges, take almost not prep work. Wrap an apple in a paper towel (for napkin) and throw it in your bag.

I also like soup - easy to make up a big pot (for cheap) on a day off and have it stored for meals through out the week - either as a pot in the fridge or prepackage into plastic/glass containers for easy  grab-and-go food. Same with casserole.  Many soups and casseroles also freeze well - so you can keep a stash for later.

Salads can also be prepped in advance - chop up a bunch of veggies and prepackage into containers - or keep in the fridge and throw together morning of into a new salad each day. A small container of dressing can be brought separately (or maybe your workplace will let you store a bottle of dressing in workplace fridge) and you can add right before eating for it doesn't get soggy.

Finally - something sweet - particularly on nights is nice. I would add a some dried fruit, or a piece or two of candy to my meal bag. Just a touch of sugar as a pick-up but because it wasn't from the vending machine or cafeteria it was easier to limit portion and have it as a side to my meal, rather than the meal itself.

 

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KatieMI has 6 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

2 Followers; 1 Article; 2,423 Posts; 42,672 Profile Views

Second JKL33. Fruit/veggie, fruit/veggie, more fruit, more veggie. A melon (peeled and pre-cut) and a bag or two of baby carrots were about right to hamster the night off. I was making bone stock before it became health-food crazie and drunk it hot in the middle of the shift (btw, it is simple. Just throw a family pack of whatever chicken parts which happen to be on sale in water to cover them with some salt and an onion and a carrot if you feel like it and pop the whole in empty stove heated on the lowest for 8 to 12 hours, then discard everything but the stock. If you really want to save $, pick the meat off and freeze - it remains edible and ready to go at any point on sandwich or spaghetti).  Or protein drinks for a change (Muscle Milk greek yogurt is my current favorite). And hydration, hydration, hydration - just be careful with caffeine. 

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1 Follower; 356 Posts; 3,943 Profile Views

You can learn to cook simple meals; YouTube is a great resource. Also, you can cook on your days off and prep for the days you'd be at work so you're not doing it right before work. You can also buy your own snacks and put some in a Ziploc bag- that's cheaper than buying from the vending machine. A sandwich, some fruits, snacks, and a meal sound practical for work.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

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Lots of terrific ideas here for the meal-challenged shift worker. There are also numerous postings on AN that address similar quandaries like what to keep in the car for unplanned overtime, bad weather provisions, over-weight or under-weight munches, etc.

As something I've not seen suggested anywhere here ... we all admit that brown-bagging something is usually far more economical and nutritionally satisfying than vending machine or cafeteria fare. But shopping may be time-problematic. Well, what about utilizing those 'shop-from-home' grocery store services that DELIVER also?

There's usually a minimal fee for your computer orders but you can order TONS of stuff, esp  yogurts, cheese sticks, individual or jumbo bags of cereal/nuts, etc as often as nec. Just stock up, bag it, then grab & go.

When you do have that small block of open time, you can break up items for food storage/bagging. I use the service for a different reason, but take my word for it, the store inventory & possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. 

Think about it & give it a try.

Edited by amoLucia

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ClaraRedheart has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg.

292 Posts; 7,520 Profile Views

It's been awhile since I worked night shift. When I was a tech, I would bring a can of my favorite soup. That seemed to hit the spot at night. When I was a nurse, I worked close enough to a Boston Market (and could afford it 😄 ) and bought a nice meal (3 pc dark chicken, creamed spinach and green beans) that I could heat up in the middle of the night. I'd eat half then, and half when I got home. 

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

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I searched the web, but couldn't find a product Steve Martin said he kept for a snack during one of his standup routines back in the 70's:

"Pudding In A Pocket".

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 2,899 Posts; 66,413 Profile Views

Food.

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