We invited Lauren Fowler, RDN and creator of the popular blog Mindful Meals to write out an ideal menu for dental hygienist to keep our energy up!
The key is to having a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats in your meals for sustained energy for your body and brain throughout the day. Having fruits and veggies will also provide antioxidants and fiber.
- Eggs, veggies, avocado, and fruit - Saute some veggies like peppers, onions, or mushrooms with scrambled eggs. Top with avocado. Add a side of fruit. The protein, healthy fats, and fiber in the meal will create sustainable energy and keep you satisfied longer.
- Smoothies with protein and/or healthy fats. Having a smoothie with fruit, as well as protein and healthy fats is a great, easy and convenient breakfast or snack idea. Adding greens will also boost the fiber and antioxidant content. One of my favorites is banana, almond butter, handful of spinach, almond milk, and hemp seeds. Using ingredients like a nut butter, chia, hemp, or flaxseeds, a good quality protein powder, or unsweetened coconut products are great additions.
- Avocado on whole grain toast and a hardboiled egg. Smash avocado on 1-2 slices of toast, using the avocado as a spread.
- Soup or chili. These are great to cook up a big batch for the week and bring in for lunches. Some of my favorites are sweet potato black bean chili or a butternut squash coconut soup (I like to top this with pumpkin seeds).
- Salads. Having a big green salad with veggies, a protein like hardboiled eggs, chickpeas, chicken, or tofu, and a fat like a olive oil salad dressing or avocado. You could also top it with some raisins or nuts/seeds.
- Mexican Bowls. Make a bowl with brown rice or quinoa, black beans, sauteed peppers and onions, avocado, and salsa. You can make a batch of these at the beginning of the week for lunches, and vary the veggies or protein you want to add.
- Carrots/peppers or whole grain crackers + Hummus - I like Mary's Gone Crackers brand
- Hardboiled egg
- Piece of fruit
- Trail mix with nuts/seeds and dried fruit - Trader Joe's has bunch of them, or you can make your own.
- Energy Balls (homemade) - There are a bunch of recipes here, and these are great when you're in a rush for time to pack a few of these for the day and grab one in between patients. My favorite store-bought bars are Kind and Larabars as well.
The key really comes in preparing for the week by making food ahead of time to pack for lunches and snacks, as well as making time for breakfast in the morning. Then, it's about reminding yourself that taking time for lunch or a quick snack helps re-energize you, so you have the energy to give your best to patients throughout the day too.