You have started a great assignment as a healthcare traveler and are enjoying getting to know your coworkers and new city. But with all the perks of a healthcare travel job, there are a few challenges, including eating healthy.
Consider all the reasons why sticking to healthy eating habits may be difficult when you’re on the road. For example, depending on your job, you may be working 12-hour shifts, including working overnight. It’s difficult to stick to good eating habits when you’re tired at 3:00 a.m. Plus, you may not have the same cooking supplies you have at home, which may limit what you can prepare. Lastly, going out and exploring your new city may include trying new restaurants and not always making good choices. But the good news is there are several things you can do to eat healthy while on assignment.
If you’re working a 12-hour shift, you are going to eat at least one meal, and maybe more while you are at work. Consider packing at least one of your meals and a few snacks. Make good food choices such as nuts, fruit, veggies with low-fat cheese, and yogurt. Opt for foods that will keep blood sugar levels steady over several hours and provide you with the energy you need on the job.
When you rely completely on buying meals and snacks from the cafeteria or vending machines, you may be more likely to make unhealthy choices. Try to avoid going too long without a small snack. If you let yourself get too hungry at work, when you finally do get a chance to eat, you may overdo it.
Avoid “Night Shift” Binges
If you’re working the night shift at your travel job, there are a few more challenges. It’s hard to be disciplined and make good food choices when you are tired. The night shift can throw off your regular eating habits and even mess with your metabolism. Try to avoid eating your biggest meal of the day while you are working overnight. Eating a big meal at night may lead to taking in more calories than normal. Plus, it can make you feel sluggish and tired, which is not what you need on night shift.
In addition, be aware of your caffeine intake. Coffee may be a must to get your through your shift, but don’t drink so much that it interferes with sleep. Consider stopping the caffeinated drinks about four or five hours before you get off duty.
Limit Dining Out
Sure there may be hundreds of new restaurants to try in your new city, and going out to eat is often a social event. But restaurant portions are often too large, and you may not know how food is prepared. Instead of eating your way through your new city, limit meals out to once in a while. Instead, explore other places in your city, such as museums, parks, and historical sites. When you do go out for a meal, watch your portion size and consider passing on the bread and alcohol to save calories.