What to eat checklist: Evening shift ideas
Eating healthfully on the night shift to optimize your energy levels and ‘feel fueled’ is its own science. Here are some quick tips and ideas for brown bag meals that will help you avoid the drowsy ‘post-lunch’ feeling when you’re working through the night.
- Instead of having a large meal, have several quick, healthy snacks. Remember that your body’s normal digestive rhythm can also be disrupted by shift work, resulting in indigestion and heartburn, which can awaken you and keep you up when you’re trying to sleep.
- Eat small portions to include two meals and two snacks, eating every two to three hours.
- Eat within the first hour of waking up.
- Eat a small meal before going to sleep post-shift.
- Plan ahead by bringing healthy food choices and snacks, such as a piece of fruit and portion-controlled meals.
- Choose low-fat and high nutrition items (the latter boosts your immune system) such as cheese sticks made of skim milk.
- Drink water: the recommended daily amount is half of your body weight in ounces (sugar-free flavoring for water is okay).
- Limit consumption of caffeinated beverages.
Make optimal health a reality on every shift!
Diane Porter is the owner of Weight Off for Life, a nutrition and natural optimal health counseling center in Rockwall, Texas. She has spent her four decades as a registered nurse, promoting healthy living and lifestyle choices. In addition to her work in hospitals and health care businesses, Porter is a former assistant professor of nursing at Texas Woman’s University. Continually educating herself about health and nutrition, she is a certified health adviser for the Take Shape for Life health program and is an applied clinical nutritionist through a program offered by the Texas Chiropractic College. Porter has won numerous awards for her work, including being named one of the Great 100 Nurses by the Texas Nurses Association (Districts Three and Four) and the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council in 1992.
By Diane Porter