EMS Nutrition – What’s on Your Plate?

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

As an EMS provider/Firefighter, heck shift worker, finding the ability to eat a well-balanced meal while on shift or at work is definitely not an easy task. My husband and I had a conversation the other day about eating on shift and temptation.  I admit to having a very hard time resisting.  I like food. So, turning down dessert, soda, sweet tea, etc. is hard for me.  And boy, do I LOVE Carbs!  My husband is a much healthier eater than I am. He admits though, that when a 2 a.m. call takes him to the EMS room at the hospital that stocks Ice Cream, self-pity (for being awake at 2 a.m.) makes it easier to choose the Ice Cream as a “midnight” snack than skipping eating anything.  So, what do you do?

Last week’s post talked about writing a food diary. Have you started? If you have, have you looked back at what you are eating?  Now that you have a better idea (don’t stop tracking though), we’ll move on to the next step.

What’s On Your Plate?

When given an opportunity to choose, I’m probably going to choose an extra helping of meat, two starches, and double dessert. Not exactly a “well-balanced” diet.  So, how can I make better choices for each meal?  I use the USDA’s “My Plate”.  You’ve probably heard of the Food Pyramid. The food pyramid shows the amount of servings you would need during each day, not necessarily how to get it over the course of three meals and snacks. 


In recognizing that people may not be able to take the Food Pyramid and break it down into individual meals the Federal Government created “My Plate”.  My Plate breaks down what your plate should be filled with at each meal, providing a visual representation of how to fill your plate.

The website: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ also provides great information on general nutrition and meal planning/eating tips:

Balancing Calories

1.  Enjoy your food, but eat less
2.  Avoid oversized portions

Foods to Increase

1.  Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
2.  Make at least half your grains whole grains
3.  Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk

Foods to Reduce

1.  Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose foods with low numbers
2.  Drink water instead of sugary drinks

So, start looking at your plate, document what portions you are eating, and keep on making those little changes!

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