Summer is here and the living is supposed to be easy. But for nurses, especially in 2020, the summertime looks like it’s going to be pretty busy. Are you looking for an energy boost?

Even as cases of the coronavirus taper off in some of the spring hotspots, it’s increasing at a rapid rate in other areas across the country. As a nurse, you know caring for yourself right now is essential, even as you find your time and energy depleted.

One way to boost your energy, your immunity, and your outlook is by eating food that offers both top nutrition and comfort food but is easy to prepare. As a bonus, any leftovers become an easy lunch to bring to work.

Here are a few tips for focusing on food to give you energy.

  1. Choose Seasonal Foods

Summer makes it easy to get a lot of nutrition because so many fruits and vegetables are in season. Whether it’s in a supermarket, a big box store, or a farmers’ market, ripe produce is often available when you are doing other errands. Choose peaches and melons that are sweet, packed with energy-boosting water, and offer plenty of vitamins. Dark green lettuces are tender, easy to wash, and full of folate.

  1. Get Your Protein

Protein prevents hunger pains between meals, fuels your long days, and keeps your body running. Lots of people choose to cut down on protein when they are trying to lose weight (or some weight-loss plans rely on protein overloads). Keeping a steady supply of protein from your food choices varies nutrition totals and keeps you from fading fast during a long shift. Choose from meats and seafood, beans, tofu, cheeses, and other dairy items like yogurt.

  1. Try Something New

You don’t have to be in the mood to whip up new recipes to try something new. Many supermarkets offer prepared foods that you can try with a small size or just commit to trying a new food. Or see if your family or a friend would want to go in on ingredients and try to come up with a dish that take less than five ingredients and three steps.

  1. Convenience Works

When you’re tired and facing down the dinner hour, a prebagged, washed salad and a cooked rotisserie chicken makes a great dinner with plenty of leftover possibilities. Premade soups, slices of veggie pizza, and frozen meatballs also add variety and ease to your meal selections. Thaw bagged, cooked frozen shrimp and cook a box of pasta—top both with a jarred cream sauce and some cherry tomatoes and you have a nutritious and filling meal. Watch out for extra salt and fat in some premade meals, but choosing something easy is what summer eating is all about.

Be mindful of what you’re eating and see if you notice any changes in your energy levels or even in the way you look at food. Summer is a good time to lighten up cooking effort, but you don’t want to skimp on getting healthy food. Make it enjoyable and easy to prepare and recoup a little peace during these stressful times.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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