Don’t forget to enter my Headbands of Hope Giveaway!!! You have until midnight tonight- spread the word, it’s for a GREAT cause!!!!
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently on my ICU rotation and man is it busy! The rotation is basically shift-work. We change over from the night team first thing in the morning; they update us on what happened with our patients and tell us about any new admissions. Then we spend the day rounding, putting in orders for our patients, checking on our patients, in lectures, admitting new patients, etc. At 6pm we change back over to the night team and they take over. Besides working hard to learn all about my patients and take care of them to the best of my ability, I’m studying for Step 2 of my US Medical Licensing Exam. It’s a 2 part exam: The first part is 8 hours, the second part is 9 hours. Good grief I will be so glad when it’s over 🙂
I knew this month would be one of my busiest, so I had to prepare to keep up my healthy habits. During my surgery rotation (which was also super busy) I had a hard time packing lunch each day, fitting in exercise, and drinking enough water. I am determined to make this rotation different! I am all about packing my lunch each day, working out- even if it’s less than normal, and staying hydrated.
So, my biggest tips to make your busiest month your healthiest month, are to:
- PREP FOOD WEEKLY. This one is key. If you don’t you will resort to eating out, grabbing processed gunk when you have a chance, and not fueling yourself properly.
- Have a workout schedule, but don’t stress about it. Right now, I’m struggling to find the perfect time to workout. I take my boards in a month, so I want to study in the morning, not workout. When I get home, I’m super tired- but I know this is the perfect time to workout, so I just have to grit my teeth and do it. I always feel so much better after! But if I only fit in 3 or 4 workouts a week, that’s okay.
- SLEEP- no matter what, don’t sacrifice sleep. Get AT LEAST 7 hours a night, preferably more. This one is hard for everyone, I know. But let’s all try to go to bed 30 minutes earlier!
- Meditate/Pray/Stress Relief- Even if you only do it for 5 minutes, a daily meditation will really help control stress from a busy month.
- WATER- drink up friends!! It keeps you energized, hydrated, and feeling good. It also helps stop you from overeating 🙂
I struggle with basically all these things. But I know that if I focus on those 5 keys to success, I will be feeling good! First thing I did, was prep food:
The weekend leading up to this rotation was super relaxed for me, so I thought I would take advantage of that and prep lots of food for this month. The first thing I made was lentil soup!
Kyle had a rotisserie chicken that he had eaten most of, so I used the remaining carcass to make chicken broth. If you’ve never made your own chicken broth, it’s so easy- you should try it.
Homemade chicken broth:
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 small yellow onion
- 3 stalks celery and a handful of celery leaves
- carrots- either 3 big carrots or 2 cups of baby carrots
- 1 head of garlic
- salt and pepper
In a big pot, add the chicken carcass, 1 small onion cut into large pieces, celery cut into 3 inch pieces, celery leaves, carrots cut into 2-3 inch pieces, 1 head of garlic cut in half- (you don’t have to take off the skin), 1 tbs thyme (or more- you decide!), 1 large handful fresh parsley (or 1 tbs dried parsley), salt and pepper. Add in enough water to cover the chicken, and a few inches above it.
***You don’t have to worry about bones or skin or vegetables not looking pretty because none of this stuff will make it into your final soup. You will strain the broth- so everything you add is just for flavor!
Bring water to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and let it simmer for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally. Cool your broth overnight. In the morning, scrap off any fat that has settled on top. Then strain your broth out and toss all the veggies and chicken carcass.
The day after I made my broth, I chopped up a ton of carrots, celery, and onions.
Then I started cooking TONS of lentils.
I covered the lentils with chicken broth, brought them to a hard boil, and turned them down to medium before adding the veggies. I also threw in 2 bay leaves and a clove of garlic. Finally, I added more chicken broth.
I let the soup cook for what seemed like ages until the lentils were soft. And that was it!!
Healthy, homemade, flavorful lentil soup. This made an enormous amount, so I froze most of it. I’ll be eating soup all month!!
I also prepped a week full of salads using my new obsessions- the Salad in a Jar technique.
I’ve seen tons of people blog about salads in a jar, but for some reason I never tried them. That was a mistake. This technique is so incredible because it allows you to make a weeks worth of salad and the lettuce stays crisp!!!
Start with glass jars. I bought mine at Walmart. (Make sure to clean them first)
Add you dressing to the bottom of the jar:
Then add beans. You should add beans because #1 they are delicious, #2 they are full of fiber and protein and nutrients, #3 they make your salad really filling, #4 they are inexpensive.
I used cannellini beans for some jars, black beans in others, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans- I’ve tried them all!
Next, add less absorbent veggies like tomatoes, black olives, carrots, celery, peppers, sky’s the limit!
Then add more veggies: I used broccoli slaw.
Lastly, stuff the jar with lettuce until nothing else will fit. It’s surprising how much lettuce you can squish into the jar. You want to fill the jar completely so that things don’t mix around while you take it to work/school.
The day you will eat the salad, you can add more perishable things like avocado, chicken, etc. You could even pack this separately to add once you dump the salad out onto a plate.
Here’s the finished product:
I made 7 of these and they all stayed PERFECTLY fresh and delicious!! I just dumped them out onto a plate before diving in!
I have even prepped breakfast each day!!
Smoothies make great on-the-go breakfasts, and although I will miss my usual oatmeal breakfast, I’m excited to have smoothies all month!
I put 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, a massive handful of spinach, and another huge bunch of kale into separate plastic baggies.
I popped each of these bags into the freezer, and now my mornings are even easier. I just empty the baggie into my blender, add almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder, blend, and I’m all set!
The only bad thing about these smoothies is that they turn my tongue purple!!!
Now, I’m back to studying. Talk to you soon!!!
What do you do to make busy times also healthy times?
Have you made salads in jars or prepped smoothie bags?