As you know, working as a doctor means your week will seldom go exactly according to plan. There will be days where you stay late, leave early, have a bad day.
Be prepared for the fact that it will be difficult to manage your workload and fuel your body with nutritious meals during the week if the cupboards are bare at home.
Plan how many meals you need to cook/eat at home and each week make sure you have enough to get you through. You won’t have time to go to the green grocer every few days, that’s why a smart person invented frozen vege.
On a 12-day stretch you will need to be extra organised and stock up like a hurricane is coming, because it is! Some quick maths will get you through, if you are eating 3 meals a day and you do about 3 long days in your 12 day stretch, you need 12+9=21 meals (that’s a lot of food).
Do you know how many delicious versions of scroggin are available in your local pick n’ mix? There is no need to travel when you can have Brazilian nut mix on Monday, Carribean tropical fruit mix on Tuesday, Amazonian goji berries on Wednesday… Seriously though, you need snacks and if your hospital doesn’t provide them, you need to BYO.
Keep snacks in your car, in your bag, in your pocket, in your cubby hole, in your home. Remember that snacking does not count as one of you primary meals; just because you ate a bag of scroggin does not mean you can miss that healthy lunch.
Making the healthy choice is not always the easy choice but it is one that is needed. Remember that we work in a high stress and high performing job, so the fuel we put in also needs to be high performing. Less than 10% added sugar is a good place to start (<5% even better), combined with low GI to help spread the energy spikes over a longer period of time.
Everyone loves a good rainbow; and it’s is the same for the body—eating a wide range of non processed colourful foods helps maintain a good balance of essential vitamins and minerals.
Regardless of which theory you subscribe to, everyone agrees that water is essential to life. A helpful tip is simply to drink a tall glass of water at every meal in addition to carrying a sipper bottle as you traverse the hospital. Those three tall glasses of water plus a full bottle will get you close to the 2L mark.
You will know you are drinking enough as your urine should remain relatively clear throughout the day, next time you review a patient’s ‘low urine output’ consider what yours has been that day…
So, to break this down:
1 | Plan meals in advance
2 | Aim for three meals a day
3 | Maintain a healthy supply of snacks
4 | Look to foods that release energy slowly
5 | Reduce the amount of added sugar you eat
6 | Avoid processed foods where possible
7 | Sing a rainbow and eat a rainbow
8 | Drink water with every meal
9 | Carry a sipper bottle (even better a reusable one, save the planet)