Nutritional Tips for Medical Students
To avoid unhealthful snacking, following a Mediterranean Diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is important to medical students, especially those enrolled in an accelerated program, such a RN degree online or accelerated nursing program. Most students consume a poor diet, and snacking is more likely to occur if you are working on a degree from home. Therefore, I have decided to share my experience when it comes to nutrition, which I call my Mom’s Heart Healthy Diet. I have been concerned about eating well since I was in my late teens – seventeen to be exact. “Why,” you ask at seventeen? At age seventeen, I met my first husband who was raised in Israel, where produce is abundantly fresh, and a mainstay of the Middle East diet.
Rather than eating some sort of processed and ultra sweetened cereal for breakfast, as I was accustomed to in the States, breakfast in Israel usually includes fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, homemade bread, and even a homemade type of cream cheese called lebany. Lebany is a derivative of yogurt, which when strained and aged for several days becomes pasty – like cream cheese. Snacks, such as fresh and juicy grapes, oranges, and crunchy apples are eaten in abundance, rather than candy bars, donuts, and chips. Don’t get me wrong – Israelis, even those enrolled in RN degree online programs, absolutely do indulge in these and other unhealthful treats, but most generally do not consume these treats to the extent that we Americans do.While, yes, at first it was a little bit odd to eat cucumbers and tomatoes for breakfast, but the taste was so scrumptious that I began to look forward to breakfast more than any other meal. This became especially apparent when I was in the early stages of pregnancy and most foods nauseated me. I could not even tolerate the smell of cooking chicken, eggs frying, nor the taste of mayonnaise or any bottled salad dressing. Depending upon the extent of my queasiness, a cracker such as matzo that contains only flour, or a cereal such as oatmeal that contains only oatmeal, evolved into the foundation of my Mom’s heart healthy diet. It also served me well as a way to alleviate a good part of my nausea and heartburn often associated with pregnancy. You may wish to keep this in mind if you plan on working in prenatal care once you complete your RN degree online.
The first things that I eliminated from my diet when I conceived were caffeine and alcohol.
Alcohol for the obvious risk of developmental damage to the baby, and caffeine because I was afraid it too would interfere with the baby’s nervous system as well as my own. While I didn’t eliminate refined sugar or honey from my diet completely, I limited my intake. I generally avoided food products that contained corn syrup as well. The goal was to keep both myself as well as the baby free of unnecessary and possible harmful stimulants – again part of my ongoing recipe for healthy lifestyle.
While your RN degree online instructor will probably not advise you on how to go grocery shopping, to me the most important guideline is to try not to buy anything that contains any preservatives or artificial additives. This of course requires that you scrutinize the ingredient listing carefully, and not just go by what the marketing department decides to put on the front of the label to sell their product. Often, food manufacturers will put statements such as no cholesterol on their label, which doesn’t mean that the product is healthful either. I found this statement somewhat amusing, especially when it appeared on a product such as applesauce or juice, which naturally contains no animal products. However, this sort of labeling does trick many consumers into thinking that they are getting a healthy food product, even when it contains such unhealthful ingredients as corn syrup, artificial color and flavors, and preservatives. Therefore, if you follow some of my recommendations, especially while grocery shopping, you will soon find yourself eating a heart healthy Mediterranean diet full of fresh, delicious, and nutritious food.