You’re probably wondering, “How can I eat healthy with the crazy hours I work? I don’t even know what a lunch break is!” Luckily for you, I’ve pondered these enigmas before. I’ve spent 14-hour shifts on my feet with no breaks and no pharmacist overlap on top of a one-way commute time of 1 hour. Did I mention I’m on my feet all day?
I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve kept this schedule for years and maintained a healthy lifestyle.
My first day on the job didn’t look like present day food-wise, but along the way, I’ve picked up some neat tricks to stay on track with my nutrition plan while still enjoying the food (though barely having time to do so).
Should you find yourself in a similar conundrum of maintaining your goals at ClubPharmacy, here’s my advice:
1. Plan Ahead
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If you’re working a full-time job, raising a family, or everything in between, things come up unexpectedly. I think they call it “life.”
Waiting to map out your meals once you’ve clocked in and started your day only adds stress to your life. Try this instead:
- Prepare your meals the night before.
- Plan your meals for the entire week on Sunday.
- Allow wiggle room for eating out or social gatherings.
Countless times, I’ve driven all the way to work, parked my car, and realized my shaker bottle was at home, or I forgot to pack my protein for the day. Here are a few backup plans:
- Keep some extra daily staples that won’t spoil at work or, if you work at multiple locations, in your car.
- Invest in some extra supplies, like food scale, utensils, shaker cup. Buy some duplicates and leave them in the break room or your car.
- Roll with the punches. if you’re planning to eat a big salad and you’re short on time, give yourself options for something simpler, like a tuna sandwich.
Although I’d love to sit and mow down a large salad and savor all the green goodness, my work environment doesn’t give me that luxury. How do I get the same benefits without the crunch? Green smoothies! They’re delicious, nutritious, extremely customizable, and phenomenal for on-the-go sustenance.
Of the thousands of recipes, here’s one of my favorites:
Revitalizing Rejuva Smooth (yields several servings)
2 cups cold water
1 cup almond milk
5 oz spinach
6 oz romaine lettuce
3 stalks celery
1oz goji berries
3 lemons, juiced
12 ice cubes
1. Add water, milk, and ice to high-powered blender
2. Firmly secure lid and hit frappe
3. Open the flip-cap and add remaining ingredients
4. Pour and enjoy
4. Stay Hydrated
On busy workdays, we often forget the basics. One reason some of us ravage the break room for cookies is we’re actually thirsty, not hungry. Keeping consistent with your water intake is a simple fix. Some helpful tips to help you raise your glass:
- “Out of sight, out of mind” has a counterpart. Keep a bottle of water where it will always be close by—in your car cupholder, on your desk, or in your perfectly prepared lunch bag that you made up ahead of time ;)
- Start the day by filling up a Nalgene bottle or similar container with volume markings to help you to know how much you’re sipping (or how much you’re not)
5. Treat Yo’self!
If you pack 6 meals and they’re all the same, you’ll probably look for an alternative at mealtime. Treat yourself to some variety:
- There are some excellent, simple, tasty recipes online. Make several on your meal prep day, portion them out across the week, and you’ll have all the options with less obligation in the kitchen.
- Spice it up! Using different spices is a simple way to mix up your meals with different textures and flavor profiles. *Pro tip: looking for salt-free? Check out Mrs. Dash!
- If you always have a grilled chicken breast and broccoli, try making a grilled chicken salad! It’s a simple change, but one to mix up the monotony (and treat your creative side).
Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT, NAMS-CNC
Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT, NAMS CCN is an author, licensed pharmacist, and nutrition consultant. He is the founder of The Fit Pharmacist movement and host of The Fit Pharmacist Healthcare Podcast. In addition, he is the owner and a nutrition consultant at The Diet Doc Pittsburgh North in Pennsylvania.