Despite food intake being one of the most important factors affecting our health, if not the most important, physicians are notorious for eating poorly. We don’t intentionally make poor food choices, but we fail to intentionally make good food choices. Most of the time, poor eating habits are tied directly to our education and work.
Doctors in training- medical students and residents- have no control over their schedules so they often don’t know when, where or what they will eat. We don’t do much better when we start practicing.
When we are an hour behind schedule (yes, we are well aware that we run late and we don’t do it just to ruin your day) and an emergency patient walks in, we just accept “there goes a decent lunch”, if we get to eat lunch at all.
I’ve learned from my patients that physicians are not unique in this way. In the midst of busy lives with work, school, kids’ activities, church, clubs and just maintaining life, food often gets low priority on our schedules.
So, to help you with this dilemma, I am sharing advice from another physician blogger, Mary L. Brandt, MD who writes wellnessrounds. She is a Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Medical Ethics at Baylor College of Medicine and a practicing pediatric surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital .
Her blog mostly addresses issues pertinent to medical students and residents but in this post she outlines a 5 step plan for healthy eating that anyone can use. In summary her 5 points are
- Make a plan
- Make a shopping list
- Shop once for the week and (when you can) prep ahead
- Use your day(s) off to cook things that might take a bit more time and freeze some for other days
- Keep a few “instant” healthy meals in your pantry
Think this sounds like a lot of work? Well, it is, but so is being sick, or trying to lose weight after you’ve gained too much. Or as Dr. Brandt says in her post (speaking to medical students and residents remember)
“If you can learn how to take out a gallbladder or care for ill patients in the ICU don’t you think you can learn how to sauté a few vegetables???”
Here is her plan to help you start