Revamp the Way You’re Eating

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Part 2 of a Special Health Series on NurseZone

By Holly Mosier, health expert and author of Stress Less, Weigh Less

February 23, 2012 - In the first article in this series, we talked about managing stress. Without those constant cravings caused by stress, it is so much easier to eat a more healthful diet!

Healthy Eating for Nurses
Author Holly Mosier offers several principles for healthy eating, including choosing foods that keep blood sugar levels steady.

Like you, I am busy. I have a blended family, kids of all ages, housework, career…and a dog. If something is difficult or too time consuming, I just won’t do it. And many times, I need food I can take with me. That’s why I had to develop a healthy eating plan that uses normal, everyday foods. It has to be quick and easy. 

Here are some of the key principles I follow to keep my weight down and energy up:

1. Balance the carbohydrates, proteins and fats in every meal.

Are you a carb lover? I am! But when I was figuring out a better approach to eating, I quickly saw that whenever the meal I ate comprised roughly 40% carbohydrates, 30 to 35% percent protein, and about 25 to 30% fat, I felt great. I was satiated and energetic. And I felt a lot less hungry--and less tired--than I did when I was eating many more calories per day in the form of my beloved carbs!

This is not a precise calculation. It’s a rough estimate. Just be sure to include a carb, protein and fat in your meals. For example, instead of having a bagel and cream cheese or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, eat just half a bagel or have a smaller bowl of oatmeal and have two eggs or some low-fat cottage cheese. This will bring in some protein and fat, and help to keep you full and your blood sugar steady, especially during those long 12-hour shifts.

2. Get protein in your breakfast. 

I am frequently asked if I have one piece of advice I believe is most important for weight loss and high energy. And I do. It would be to make sure you got adequate protein in your breakfast every single day. 

Why? Giving up my glorious almost-all-carb breakfasts and adding protein reduced my voracious appetite and debilitating fatigue. I no longer got that blood sugar “high” we get as carbs are metabolized, followed by the crash and burn.

3. Choose lower-glycemic foods.

The glycemic index (GI) measures the effect a food has on your blood sugar level. The higher the GI rating, the higher and faster that food causes your blood sugar level to rise, then fall. This “spike and crash” syndrome sparks appetite.

Pick foods from the lower end of the GI. Low GI foods are generally high-fiber, unprocessed foods, such as non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruits. Whole grains and many dairy products such as low-fat cottage cheese are also low on the GI. Pure proteins, such as chicken or fish, have a zero GI rating as they contain no carbs. These help to keep blood sugar levels steady.

4. Add cinnamon to your foods, if possible.

Several studies have found half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can significantly reduce blood sugar levels, and help prevent that “spike and crash” syndrome associated with high-carb, high-sugar foods.

I try to add cinnamon to my breakfast foods, and it really does seem to help. Many mornings, I have cottage cheese with Splenda and cinnamon--it is surprisingly delicious. And it seems to “set” my blood sugar for the rest of the day.

About the Author:

Holly Mosier is a healthy-lifestyle expert and author of Stress Less, Weigh Less, as well as a lawyer, business owner, mother and wife.

See all four articles in this special health series on NurseZone:

Part 1: Reduce Your Stress

Part 2: Revamp the Way You’re Eating

Part 3: Revamp the Way You’re Exercising 

Part 4: Easy, Healthy Recipes (Five Ingredients or Less!)


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