Days (or nights) can be stressful at work. As my first roommate was also a night shift nurse, we would often compare notes in the AM of the damage we would do to the endless potlucks and goodies that patients’ families would bring to us. While I had thought graduating college meant the freshman fifteen was over, it most certainly did not.

“I had two donuts last night,” I said one morning.

“Yeah?” she said. Her head was down as she scrolled through her phone. “Well I had four.”

This, I promise you, is a true story. It was at that moment we went on a diet.

A good diet is something you can stick with. I’ve done a LOT of research since our donut confession to learn more about nutrition and being healthier in general. While there is a ton of research out there, here are some steps I’ve learned that can help you eat healthier at work.

  1. Being prepared: “Meal prepping” has grown in popularity as of late and I have to admit that it’s the number one thing to keep you on track. Great bodies start in the kitchen and if you have healthy and ample food choices at work you won’t need to splurge on pizza and cookies. There is a ton of information on how to meal prep, one of my favorite sites for recipes/info is (for women too!). I usually prep on one of my days off, about every five days. Rotating recipes helps so you won’t get too bored of food choices. As an added plus, meal prepping is a SUPER timesaver and will give you more time before and after work and less to worry about.
  2. Invest in a good lunch bag: Buy something that you can actually fit all your food in.
  3. Eating more protein: One of the most interesting takeaways that I’ve learned is that eating protein is one of the best things to promote feelings of satiety. Unless you’re a fitness aficionado and know about the macronutrient numbers you’re hitting, you’re probably not eating enough protein (especially) if you’re craving four donuts at night.
  4. Getting enough water: Some shifts it can get super busy and it is easy to forget to hydrate. To combat this I bring a 2.2L water container to work. By the end of my shift I try to finish it. Having the big bottle is great because it will let you track your water intake throughout the day. Drinking water also helps with feelings of satiety, as thirst may be confused with feelings of hunger.
  5. Moderation: Some days are going to be harder than others, and some days it may seem like you need that donut to get through it. That’s okay, don’t beat yourself up about it—but don’t let yourself make a habit out of it. It’s okay to deviate once in a while.

If you’d like to learn more about nutrition in general, I’d recommend that you search nutrition on Amazon and peruse through the top reviewed book titles. If you’re interested in improving nutrition AND health/fitness, I’d recommend reading books by Michael Matthews (as did I) and tracking macronutrient intake/output through apps like My Macros+. Not only will proper nutrition make you feel better, but you’ll have more energy and look better too. If you have any added tips you’d like to share, please comment below!


Heather is a SoCal-trained tele/oncology RN currently in school to become a NorCal-trained Primary Care AGNP. Some of her favorite activities include cooking Japanese food, reading books of personal essays and "lifting."

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