As a veterinary professional, your main priority is the health and wellbeing of the animals that are in your care. This usually means long hours, lots of time spent on your feet or bent over a table, and a tendency towards fast food and sugary snacks.
In the long run, none of these are good for your health. So, if you’re trying to stay healthy but also make sure your patients get the care they deserve, it’s important to develop a few healthy habits that can support the lifestyle of a busy professional.
Healthy, On-The-Go Lunches
Specialists recommend meal planning1 as a way to avoid falling in the trap of unhealthy but easily-accessible meals when time is of the essence. It’s also a great way to build healthy eating habits since it’s easier to track and control the nutrients you consume.
Here are two healthy lunch ideas that are convenient on the go and can be included in your meal prep plan:
Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls 2
This recipe is versatile and easy to make, but it’s also rich in protein and good fats. And, it’s only about 600 calories per serving!
The meal uses brown rice, quinoa and chicken as the base, and lets you add a variety of vegetables to make it your own. The full recipe2 also includes a few tips that will help you turn this into a delicious, versatile lunch for the whole week.
Steak Fajita Salad 3
This recipe is low on carbs but rich in energy-boosting veggies and protein. Plus, it’s easy to include it into your meal prep routine! The salad starts with romaine lettuce topped with avocado, delicious fajita-style peppers, onion and steak, and finishes with a cilantro lime dressing.
The full recipe3 will instruct you how to make the dressing and how to prepare the veggies so they’ll stay fresh and tasty the longest.
Quick tip: If you don’t know how to cook perfectly medium-rare steak, you can order it from your favorite restaurant. This will save you time and the frustration of having to eat subpar steak (even if it’s your own doing).
Vets often work long shifts so that one mid-day meal doesn’t always cut it, but this doesn’t mean you should resort to the donuts or leftover birthday cake in the breakroom. To keep your energy level up throughout the day, you should have a few healthy snacks at the ready.
Here are a few ideas:
- Oranges, apples, raisins and other fresh or dried fruit without added sugars
- Fresh veggies such as cucumbers, carrots or red pepper
- Plain yogurt, low-fat cheese or whole-grain crackers
- A few slices of low-fat deli turkey or almonds (for a bit of protein)
Quick Daily Exercises
Veterinarians are usually on their feet all day or spend long hours hunched over a table while treating patients or filling in charts. In time, you’ll start feeling your legs swell and your shoulders and lower back get stiffer by the end of each work day.
To avoid turning into an old, creaky being while still young, it’s important to integrate a few easy exercises for the back, shoulders and legs into your routine. Luckily, these can be done in the office, while waiting for the next patient.
Exercises for Tight Shoulders
For these exercises you can stand or be seated, with your back straight. Start with a few rounds of shoulder raises and shoulder rolls (alternate in between the two). Continue with a few ear to shoulder stretches (tilt your head to the left and right) and finish up with a few arm swings in an up and down movement.
Exercises for Achy Backs
Most of the time, back pains try to warn us about bad posture, weird work positions and long hours spent doing repetitive things. So when your back hurts and you feel your movements are getting stiffer, you can use a few yoga poses to improve flexibility and get rid of some of the pain.
One such great position is the forward fold.4 This position is easy to practice anywhere you can find a bit of space and it doesn’t require any equipment or preparedness. You simply stand with your feet about hip’s width apart and hinge at the waist, letting your arms reach to the floor.
Overall, it’s important to find balance between work, nutrition and physical activity. Our bodies need proper care if we want them to support our efforts in today’s busy and demanding world! +
- Planning Meals. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/meals.html
- Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls. (2019, Oct., 3). Picky Palate. https://picky-palate.com/grilled-chicken-veggie-bowls-meal-prep/
- Steak Fajita Salad. Dam Delicious. https://damndelicious.net/2015/03/06/steak-fajita-salad/
- Forward Fold Yoga Pose. (2012, Oct., 3). Yoga With Adriene. https://youtu.be/g7Uhp5tphAs