Social care jobs are all about perseverance, patience, and giving your one hundred percent to help someone. These social care jobs demand a lot of focus and determination and to do justice to the job one should always stay on their toes and be active.
Being active and energetic is all the end result of eating healthy and when you are in any social care job, you might not have the time to go to a restaurant, order a fancy meal or prepare something healthy and nutritious. This also doesn’t mean that you can have a healthy and nutritious meal.
Here are some healthy Lunch alternatives that you can have while working your social care shift.
Top 10 Healthy Lunch Alternatives on Your Social Care Shift
Dip Platter or Potluck
One of the best alternatives for lunch is a dip platter. This dip platter consists of various items and you can select a variety of items each day so that you don’t get bored of eating the same thing each day. You can add healthy vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and peppers.
- The key is to have a proper combination of vegetables and fruits and the suggested ratio is 5:2. 5 vegetables and two fruits. These vegetables and fruits are rich in different vitamins and nutrients and they will help to refuel your body so that you can get back to work.
- To make it even more interesting, you can have a Hummus dip with Cheese dip or cottage cheese.
Chia seeds are the miracle ingredient as they are super rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Everyone who is crazy about their diet, eating healthy, maintaining their body will definitely have chia seeds in one dish or the other.
- You can soak about 6 tablespoons of chia seeds overnight and then use it in the smoothie. These chia seeds go with all kinds of milk like almond, coconut, cashew, etc.
- You can also add fruits like blueberries or strawberries to give the smoothie an extra flavor and the sweetness from these berries make the smoothie delicious.
Granola bars are full of healthy ingredients and these bars are packed with fiber and nutrients that can meet your nutrition levels and give you all the energy that you need. Having the same granola bar every day can be boring so you can mix up your own ingredients make your own granola
- These granola bars are made up of a variety of nuts and dry fruits so gather all your favorite nuts and mix them up using a food processor.
- You can add honey or coconut oil to bring the ingredients together and then you have to heat the mixture on a stove or by using a microwave.
- While the granola is being slowly roasted, you can add any additional seeds, nuts, or coconut flakes.
- Once the mixture is all together, you have to turn off the heat and transfer the mixture onto a tray.
- Wait for the mixture to cool down and you can cut it down into chunks and carry it wherever you go.
Devilled Eggs or Gourmet Boiled Eggs
Eggs are perfect for lunch as they are full of protein and they can be prepared and stored on the go. There are a lot of varieties of dishes that you can make with eggs and having plain boiled eggs also helps in having a full stomach for longer. These eggs are the perfect snack but having plain eggs can make you lose interest in them. The two best suggestions with eggs are –
- Devilled eggs – These devilled eggs are hard-boiled eggs where you remove the yolk and replace the center with some mayonnaise or mustard inside. You can do your own experiments and develop your version of these devilled eggs.
- Gourmet boiled eggs – Making Gourmet boiled eggs might need some preparation but it is worth spending some time on cooking. You can simply toss some boiled and peeled eggs on a saucepan, add some strips or bits of bacon, fry them up and add some avocado or any other ingredient. This is a great lunch because it can be served cold.
Toast is a very common lunch among social care workers and preparing a toast is also really easy. To make this toast interesting you can carry a toast topper like vegemite, jam, or butter. Bread is healthy but you have to be careful in choosing the type of bread. Selecting whole wheat or brown bread is suggested as it reduces bloating.
- You can also have a toast-treat where you and your co-workers can bring in a variety of toppings and all of you can make varieties of toast and have a fun lunch.
- You can have sliced banana with ricotta cheese, topped with raisins and pecans, or prepare a simple vegemite toast with avocado.
Fruit and Nut Mix
There are times when you miss out on your lunchtime and there is almost no time to go on with your meal. This is a really serious problem because the lack of food can result in weakness and you might feel dizzy and even start dozing off.
- The best type of food in such situations is a fruit and nut mix. This mixture included potassium and fiber rich nuts and these nuts are generally tasty. The addition of dry fruits like raisins gives it an extra sweetness and makes it even better.
- You can also add pieces of chocolate (dark), and dry fruits like dried cherries, cranberries and apricots, and dried cranberries.
Pizza roll ups
These pizza roll-ups are very popular among workers and they are very easy to prepare. They taste exactly like a pizza and all you have to do is to get the rolling sheet, mix the ingredients together, store them in a box, and during lunchtime toss some in the microwave and wait for them to get ready.
- You might think that a pizza is unhealthy and so will a pizza poll up. This is a common misunderstanding and pizza roll-ups are considerably healthier than a pizza. You can add mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, and your favorite veggies.
Toasted Sandwich or a ‘Toastie’
A sandwich or a toasties is a healthy alternative for lunch and this sandwich can be served hot and can also be served at room temperature. It is the small things like hot food that makes all the difference.
- It is really easy to make a toastie. You can get two slices of bread, add your preferred meat slice, cut some vegetable slices, add some flavoring, and then put them into a toaster.
- Toasting will also give a nice flavor to the bread.
Celery and Peanut Butter
Celery is one of the healthiest options for a snack or for lunch. It helps in reducing inflammation, gives an instant antioxidant boost, and also helps in digestion. Celery also helps in having a full stomach for a long time.
- There are a lot of proteins, vitamins, and minerals in celery and to make it interesting you can add peanut butter. Peanut butter has a lot of calories in it so before you purchase the jar of peanut butter make sure to see the calorie count per serving.
We love the silky-smooth taste of milk chocolate and no matter how much we have is milk chocolate, our craving for it never ends. Milk chocolate is not a good alternative for lunch but dark chocolate is great for you.
- Dark chocolate is made entirely from cocoa beans and these cocoa beans are rich in antioxidants. These cocoa trees are the “best sources of antioxidants on the planet.”
- Having 100% dark chocolate is not advised because it is entirely bitter and having such bitter items can spoil the whole palette. The best alternative is 70% dark chocolate
How diet plays a major role in reducing stress
When you are a social worker, you need to make some crucial decisions and before making these decisions there should be a lot of background checks and you should consider a lot of things. Without a proper diet, your brain will not function properly, and the required hormones and chemicals are not released.
Having foods that are rich in B vitamin, C vitamin, and magnesium will keep you on your toes and where there is any emergency, your body sends signals to the brain and other parts of the body to prepare itself and help to focus.
If you know you are about to have a stressful day, you should make sure that you have a sound sleep and then have a good breakfast in the morning. It is not suggested that you have a really healthy meal. This will only result in bloating and stomach discomfort.
You should keep eating fruits or snacks throughout the day to make sure that you are packed with energy and this will help in giving your best.
Working conditions at a Social care job
There are various types of social care jobs like mental care jobs, home care jobs, personal care assistants, etc. These jobs demand the employee to be always available and they cannot take too many breaks. There are almost no proper lunch hours and the lunch break may vary from time to time every day. It is important to carry foods that will last longer. The microwave might be busy and there might not be an option to heat the food so it is always important to carry food that can be enjoyed even if it is cold.
Negative effects of some foods and items you need to ignore
Caffeine – Caffeine intake is really common and this caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cold beverages, energy drinks, and even in some chocolates. Caffeine will give you the energy boost you need but there are some severe after-effects you will have to face if you take too much caffeine. You will experience a limited period of enhanced focus, and your senses will be at peak but once the energy wears down you feel really tired and working might seem impossible.
Sugar and Salt – Consumption of these items when you are working or before going to work is not suggested. Eating too much sugar or salt can deprive your body of the essential vitamins as they absorb all of the essential vitamins in the body. Breaking down these sugars and salts takes too much time and you might experience stomach discomfort.
Alcohol – Consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in any workplace and when you are a social worker, you need to have an extra layer of responsibility. Alcohol will make you a buzz or make you dizzy and will only make it hard for you to do your daily tasks. Being under the influence of alcohol and carrying out social help can be a huge risk to the person you are offering your services and your irresponsibility can result in some serious consequences.
Nicotine – Smoking is very common among people and it is actually true that cigarettes and nicotine help in releasing stress. This release of stress is momentary and once you start smoking cigarettes regularly, you will have lung damage and your blood vessels will start to narrow down. This will result in you experiencing a higher rate of blood pressure and thus even more stress. Smoking cigarettes can also cause cancer and the smoke is not good for others.
Other than choosing these dangerous alternatives you can always go for other natural stress-busting activities. The best way to relax is to do meditation and meditation is said to have many different benefits. Meditating will also help in setting the right mindset required to achieve all your goals.
You can also exercise and do any kind of exercise. Exercising helps to activate various parts of the brain and also stretches your muscles. You will also remain fit and the social care job will become really easy to handle.
More than 80% of the working employees are not aware of the need for having a proper lunch and how much it could benefit them in their daily functioning. People always choose the fast food outlets and even in these fast food outlets they order the least healthy options. These unhealthy food items are tasty but they have a negative impact on the body and make it harder during work.
People working in a social care shift have no time to think about themselves. They are always busy and they tend to be very patient and offer their services without thinking about anything else. People having a night shift for a social care job have to be even more careful about their diet. Eating healthy will help to keep them focused and give their best. Too much starving will result in the parts of the brain shutting down and this will result in the person making irrational decisions.
The above-mentioned lunch alternatives are extremely healthy and are completely affordable. Social care workers can enjoy these lunch alternatives that are easy to carry around and stay fresh for a long time. Some of these items can be consumed in fewer quantities and still you can get the required energy supplements.
Tara Lane has been an active social worker since high school and was a part of many social work campaigns and events that were happening in and around the city. She believes that everyone should take up mental health jobs at some point in their life or add social help to their bucket list. It is the sheer satisfaction that influenced Lane’s career options.