Nighttime shift workers have a difficult time staying healthy. Not only are workers showing up for the job during hours that the body is naturally inclined to sleep, they often use unhealthy foods to keep themselves going. Good nutrition protects your health and keeps energy levels high. Keep these five nutrition tips for shift workers in mind as you prepare for work.
1. Cut Down On Sugary Foods And Drinks
Sugar gives a quick boost to fatigued workers. That instant increase in blood sugar levels keeps many nighttime workers focusing on the job at hand. While sugar can be used occasionally to keep you going, constant use can lead to obesity and increased risk of diabetes. There is also the danger of the associated sugar crash.
Instead of searching for a quick pick-me-up during your shift, plan for multiple small and healthy snacks throughout the night. Eat an apple or other fruit before your shift begins. Have a small satisfying snack available for each of your breaks and lunch. You’ll be able to maintain a blood sugar level that keeps you going without harming your health.
2. Decrease Carb Consumption And Rev Up Your Protein Intake
Pack plenty of protein into your lunch. Eggs, tuna, and other lean meats will keep you alert throughout the shift without the post-consumption let down that a diet heavy in carbohydrates brings. Since they stay in your stomach longer, you won’t feel hungry and can function at your best for longer periods of time.
Carbohydrates trigger drowsiness. Since you are already fighting your body’s natural inclination for sleep as your shift moves forward, you don’t need foods that will work against you. Include them in moderation and combine them with other food groups during mealtime breaks.
3. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine provides an immediate boost in energy levels. Most shift workers drink a cup of coffee or tea or pull out another caffeinated beverage at break times. Most data indicates that, in moderation, caffeine has positive physical effects.
However, too much caffeine can harm your body by interfering with your ability to sleep during the day. When excessive caffeine enters your system, you are not able to get the restful sleep during the day that your body requires. Over time, fatigue builds up and your body responds unfavorably. Sleeping during the daytime hours when the sun is shining is difficult enough without being chemically complicated by drinking too much coffee during the night.
Make sure that you have at least eight hours of restful sleep before you head for work each night. In order to get this, limit your caffeine intake to one cup before you start working and an additional cup during your first break. If you are following the rest of these nutrition tips for shift work, you’ll have no problem remaining alert for a full eight-hour night shift.
4. Be Mindful As You Eat
The night time shift is frequently slower paced than other shifts. When workers become bored, they often find themselves reaching mindlessly for unhealthy snacks and drinks. This practice will quickly pack on the pounds and send your system out of whack.
Make a commitment to commit to mindful eating at work during your shift. If you do bring snacks to work, make sure that they are healthy ones. Workers find that if they adhere to a regular pattern of food consumption during breaks, they are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods throughout their work shift. Mindful eating helps you concentrate on the quality of food that you are eating so take special care to include healthy foods that your really enjoy.
5. Pack Your Lunch Every Day
During night time hours, most employees find that healthy food choices are hard to locate if they haven’t packed their own lunch. Businesses are filled with vending machine to fuel unhealthy food cravings. The only nearby restaurants likely to be open at one or two o’clock in the morning are fast food restaurants filled with bad food choices. In order to avoid the bad nutrition options available during the nighttime hours, you should commit to packing a healthy lunch every day.
When it comes to nutrition tips for shift workers, this is the most important one. Take time to make a list and include simple to transport foods in your lunch box each day. Pack it with fruits, food high in proteins, and a healthy serving of vegetables. It’s a good idea to include a dessert item as well, since these treats uplift your mood and help you to savor your downtime.
Don’t let shift work damage your health. Use these five nutrition tips for shift work to remain motivated on the job and ensure that you can rest peacefully once you return home. Over the long haul, you will remain much healthier and that is what is really important.