Advice & Tips

Healthy Eating Tips For Shift Workers

Professionals who work during odd hours or those who work shifts are more likely to experience fatigue, insomnia, ulcers and accidents than individuals who engage in work activities during the day. Shift workers are also more likely to put on weight when they work odd hours and this can be attributed to the eating habits. It may not be an ideal situation but it is the nature of the duties performed by such professionals that forces them to work the night shifts. Some of the professionals include doctors, nurses, real estate agents and other professionals who are on-call. Below are some useful healthy eating tips that will prevent you from sabotaging your health especially if you are a shift worker.

Consume more protein

It comes as no surprise that shift workers usually struggle with drowsiness. Consequently, making the right choice when it comes to dieting is essential. Food items rich in protein such as eggs, tuna, string cheese, peanut butter, cottage cheese, tofu and turkey all help in increasing focus and alertness. Therefore, incorporate some of the food items into your snacks or meals. In contrast, carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, bread and cereal have a sedating or relaxing effect when eaten with nothing else. Therefore, stay away from carbohydrates during your shift working hours.

Avoid sweetened beverages and sugar

Excessive amounts of sugar is usually not recommended. The effects are even more damaging if you work night shifts. Research indicates that the ability of the human body to process sugar tends to decline at night. If you are finding it hard to stay away from sugar, you might want to consider limiting the amount you take. The same applies to sweetened beverages particularly if your job entails night shift work.

Watch your meal portions

When working night shifts, you are likely to find yourself consuming large meal portions several times a day, both at home and at work. This can significantly increase your caloric intake which eventually leads to weight gain. If you are craving or planning on having a heavy meal after completing the shift, you might want to consider eating lighter snacks or meals instead as you work. This fills you up and reduces the urge to eat once you get back home.

Eliminate caffeine from your diet

Consider cutting down on caffeine or better still, try and avoid it if you can. Caffeine stays in the body for almost eight hours which makes it rather difficult for you to catch some sleep when you eventually need to do so. If you feel you really cannot do without the coffee, consider having it before you begin your shift. Better still, you should consider switching to decaffeinated coffee or tea. Other excellent alternatives include milk, juice and water.

Healthy snacking

Snacks play a major role as far as meal timing is concerned. Healthy snacking helps you keep your energy levels up during the shift. Prepare healthy snacks at home and eat them at work.

Bear in mind that spacing and timing of meals and snacks is important. This effectively prevents overeating and boosts your energy levels. Your metabolic rate will be revved up thus allowing your body to burn calories efficiently. Even though shift work makes eating healthy difficult, make every effort to adopt the guidelines and the healthy eating habits discussed above to stay healthy. The effort will pay off eventually.