Our health care worker’s, on the front line, working in areas such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU) need our help. An ICU nurse from one of Melbourne’s major hospitals, reached out asking for my suggestions on healthy snacking to share with her coworkers. They have started a wellebing group. I was so pleased to be asked, it is the least I can do to help those working so hard to keep us well. I was equally happy to hear they are taking care of themselves. If they don’t take care of themselves, they can’t take care of others. You are not a hero by neglecting your own health, like the safety announcement at the start of a plane flight says, ‘put your own mask on before helping others’.
For any of the health workers and many other essential services out there, you will need to fuel for work and recover after, just like sports training. What you eat will help you get through the long haul and perform at your best both mentally and physically. How apt I feel my book title is for this time- Eat Like An Athlete, it is exactly what you need to do! For all of us in other areas of work, working, school or just staying safe at home healthy snacking is important for our health too. This is looking like a marathon event ahead for all, not a sprint so here are my healthy snacking ideas to get us through.
Choosing healthy snack foods research shows will be beneficial for your overall health.
Snacks are often where we let our nutrition down. We choose nutritious food to make meals and opt for highly processed foods for snacks. To make the most of snacks and fuel you better these are my suggestions:
· make some snacks mini meals or
· have more meals and less snacks, such as 2 lunches
· choose snack foods mostly from minimally processed foods.
An example day could be:
6am breakfast, 10am first lunch, 2pm second lunch, 6pm dinner, 8pm snack and swap times around if on night shift.
Mini Meal ‘Healthy Snack’ ideas
· Soup(canned, shelf stable foil fresh packs or home made)- a great way to boost your vegetables intake and keep hydrated too
· Sandwiches and wraps- even if half at a time.
o Protein-canned fish, hard boiled eggs, canned mashed beans, tofu, cheese, lean meats
o Salad-to make it quick and easy- mixed bags of slaw, lettuces
o Wholegrain breads and wraps
o Quick toppings: Cheese and tomato on toast, avocado and Vegemite, 100% peanut butter,tomato paste with tuna and cheese, ricotta cheese and banana
· Microwave rice cup, handful of frozen veg and then an egg scrambled in
· Microwave scrambled eggs with mushrooms and spinach thrown in.
· Mixed grain, tuna and bean Salad ‘Cups’ e.g. Edgell, Sirena
· Canned baked beans
· Frozen falafels wrapped in lettuce
· Porridge,muesli, or other breakfast cereal
· Yoghurt with fruit (fresh, canned or dried) and nuts
Healthy and Easy to Prepare Snack Ideas
Healthy snack foods can still be simple to prepare and taste great too!
· Handful of fresh nuts a day, any raw or dry roasted nuts
· Hard boiled eggs
· Corn cob- microwave, boil or steam
· Olives, gherkins, pickled onions
· Can of tuna, salmon or sardines on wholegrain crackers (e.g. Vita weets)
· Smoothie-(1 fist of fruit, 100g yoghurt, 150ml milk- can add oats, nuts, seeds)
· Cherry tomatoes
· Punnet of fresh berries e.g. strawberries, blueberries maybe with nuts/dark chocolate
· Frozen fruit chunks with yoghurt, custard or a little ice-cream
· Hummus, Tzatziki, salsa, cottage cheese dips with cup up vegetables, snow peas or rice crackers.
· Homemade savoury or fruit muffins (cup cake size)
If you would like more advice on eating to support your immune system I have more blogs written for you: 'Why we DON'T want to eat to 'Boost' our immune system'
and many more. Stay well.