Short catchy message:
Eating at night when the body is primed for sleep may have implications for the health of shift workers.
Those of you who do shift work understand the unique challenges when it comes to healthy eating. Your typical meal times are completely thrown off or you sacrifice a meal just so you can get more sleep. Loading up on refined sugar and caffeine is the norm. By the end of the shift, you’re starving, not thinking properly and reach for fast, unhealthy options.
Here are some of my top tips on how to stay healthy while working night shift:
Eat your main meal before your shift
Eat your main meal a few hours before going to work.
Eat a small meal and have healthy snacks throughout the night.
1. Pack your own foods
Bringing healthy meals and snacks from home will make it easier to eat well on your shift. A meal should be balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables/fruit.
2. Have a small and light meal after a night shift
It is hard to sleep well if you’re too full or too hungry. Healthy snacks such as whole grain cereal with milk and fruit or a piece of whole grain toast with a little peanut butter are good choices.
3. Avoid fatty, fried, spicy or sugary foods
All these foods can make you feel sluggish and contribute to unwanted weight gain. They can be even worse overnight when your digestive processes are slowed, causing heartburn, indigestion gas and constipation. A snack with a little protein will provide energy when you start to feel tired and hungry. You can try a handful of nuts with fruit, or greek yogurt with berries.
4. Cut down on caffeine
Drinking caffeinated beverages can help you stay alert, but too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, make you feel nervous or irritable and upset your stomach. To cut down on caffeine switch to decaffeinated tea or coffee, or herbal teas.
5. Don’t forget your water
Drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration and constipation. It may help you to feel more alert during your shift. Make sure you have water available and sip it throughout your shift.
6. Take active breaks
Do some stretches during your break. Walk up a flight of stairs, or go for a brisk walk during break time. Some light exercise will boost you energy, improve your mood and help you sleep better.
Practice a habit of eating clean while working the night shift. If you feel tired and lazy to prepare a nutritious meal during the daytime, order healthy and delicious meals from us. Use promo code “HOMEYBLOG” to enjoy 5% discount while getting meals from Homey!
M.P. Bonham, E.K. Bonnell, C.E. Huggins (2016). Energy intake of shift workers compared to fixed day workers: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Tan Ye Ting , Dietitian
Simple Balance Nutrition
BSc Nutrition (Canada) , MSc Applied Human Nutrition (Canada)