Working in night shifts can bring a lot of change to your life in many ways. Especially if you’re working from a long duration of time, you should make your health, a priority. So tell me, what is the best diet for night shift workers?
From my personal experience of working in night shifts for almost 3 years, I believe this blog would make a huge difference to many others.
Our body is designed to work in the day, and rest at night. However, if we work at night, which is against our natural body cycle, it results in various challenges, which can include weight gain/loss and over stress.
Let us assume the full form of DIET is, “Did I Eat This?”. A lot of misconceptions regarding dieting have been flying since a long time. You should understand that dieting doesn’t mean not eating.
You should eat according to what your goals regarding your bodies are. Not eating anything, thinking it’ll make you burn calories is incorrect way of dieting.
Make sure to fill your meal boxes with lot of fiber and protein rich foods. Eat fruits instead of fruit juices, as fruit juices consists of excess sugar and very less fibers.
Start Your Day With A Light Dinner
Normally, people doing day shifts begin their day with a wholesome breakfast. However, for the ones who work night shifts, begin the day at dinner.
Suppose you begin your day at 8:00 pm or later, then have your dinner after 30-45 mins of waking up. Never delay or compensate with your first meal to midnight because of work timings. Similarly if you’re day starts at 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm and ends around 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, have your evening meal around 9:00 pm.
For the people who feel sleepy after having dinner, eat a light dinner which includes vegetables with brown rice or dal and grilled or boiled chicken.
Consume protein & fiber as they can help you feel full for a longer time, without making you feel sleepy and also keep your hands off from unwanted, unhealthy stuff.
Avoid Having Caffeine
While you’re working, try to ingest nutrient dense foods to keep you satisfied. If you find yourself desperate for a caffeine kick, stick around with Green Tea.
Coffee or Caffeine rich products can raise your already lifted adrenaline level, leading to high cortisol & insulin which can result in weight gain and stress hike.
If you feel sleepy at work, then you must keep your body hydrated. Drink more more water to remain active & focused.
Eat a little of dark chocolate in place of normal sweetened chocolate bars.
Skip Oily Foods & Eat More Nuts
Our digestive system is inactive at night and it becomes difficult for the body to digest food. Consuming heavy fried foods with a lot of oil will not only make you feel bloated and heavy, but also lead to weight gain.
As mentioned in Ayurveda, it will also promote acidity and various gastric problems.
Instead of oily junk foods, try to crunch on nuts, as they are healthy and can make you feel satisfied and full. If you feel like snacking something during your work, try some Makhana or Lotus Seeds, Almonds & Roasted Chana.
It will not only prevent you from binging but also manage your weight.
- Toasted nuts and seeds – Experiment with spices, I like using fennel seeds and cumin seeds that are great at settling your tummy as well.
- Kale chips – Easy to bake a whole batch to keep snacking on, your colleagues will love you for them.
- Baked avocado – Cover some slices in flaxseed crumb with cayenne and you’ve got a great high fat snack.
- Dark berries – Low sugar, antioxidant rich and tasty.
- Popcorn with spices – Even though popcorn has low nutritional value, sometimes you just need to graze on anything that tastes good.
Diet Foods For Night Shift Workers
Below are some food that are preferred for night shift workers:
- Beans & Sprouts.
- Greek Yogurt.
- Boiled Eggs.
- Salads with Vegetables.
- Dry Roasted Nuts.
- Wholegrain Bread or Brown Bread.
- Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables.
- Low-fat Milk.
- Low-fat Meats like Fish & Chicken with Vegetables.
- Muesli & Oats.
- Low Glycemic Index foods like Vegetable Soups, Cottage Cheese, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts, Cashews, etc.
Don’t Eat in Cafeteria
Bright Lights, tend to make people eat faster & consume more according to a 2012 study from Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. Researchers who outfitted a Chicago Hardee’s with dim lighting, found that patrons lingered longer, yet consumed less than the normal lighting conditions usually experienced in the restaurant.
When you eat during your night shift, try and do so in an environment in which you feel relatively relaxed, and you’ll likely reduce almost 50-60 calories a day from your diet.
Swallow Some Vitamin-D
It is very obvious for night shift workers to swallow Vitamin-D than to bask or absorb it.
It becomes very difficult to stay up the entire night and to wait until the sun rises to soak some sunlight. Trust me when I say this, but it becomes very taxing to go up to see the sun and then come down to sleep. It might also hamper your sleep.
There are tablets and capsules easily available online and at your nearest chemists. Vitamin-D is a must for your bone health and various other body functioning.
Absorbing sunlight is very important & useful, however, as an alternative, Vitamin-D tablets can be consumed.
Concluding Diet For Night Shift Workers
People working in night shifts should understand that your health is your priority. Exercise, instead of extra sleeping. Try not to use mobile phones or laptops before sleeping as they emit blue lights which can disturb your sleep.
Wear blue-lens glasses while working on screens as they stop harmful lights from entering your eyes. Also, try if you can get a day shift instead of a night shift. Consume the above mentioned foods instead of junk food.
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