By : Saloni Deshmukh (Nutrition and Fitness Blogger)
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What should you eat on your night shift

In today’s 24/7 digital world the night shift is a harsh reality. The job of general shifters is hard in this competitive era so the story of night shifters is on whole another level.  In many fields like healthcare and the military, the night shift workers crucial role, that might result in life or death. They need to be attentive and alert all the time. In addition to these problems, night shift workers suffer with obesity, diabetes, and heart related problems compared to people who work in the daytime.

 

Human body is designed to work in the daytime and rest at night. Going against our biological clock creates many challenges. But when one’s livelihood and career depend on it then one has no other choice. So how can we tackle these problems? In such cases, nutrition plays an important role in your physical well-being to increase productivity and mental well-being to increase alertness.

 

Night shifters try to mimic the meal timetable from daytime to night. But at night your body does not digest efficiently as it does in the daytime. The same diet plan you followed in day time can impact your body negatively at night. If you eat right at nightly hours, it can save you from many health issues like cholesterol, blood sugar fluctuations, hormonal imbalance, digestive problems.

 

You are working but your metabolism is resting

Sleeping time is the time for your body to repair and regenerate. Working in the night shift spoils your sleep cycle or circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm, or circadian cycle, is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. It can refer to any process that originates within an organism and responds to the environment. This cycle controls key functions related to your repair, growth, digestion, and immune system. When you change this natural cycle body does not work optimally and can result in various health problems.

 

 

However, what, when and how you eat your food can change how your body responds to the environment. Doing it the right way will help you in long run. Here are some tips to help you through it.

Eat small meals during the shift as heavy meals can make you lethargic and decrease alertness.

 

Always bring fresh, healthy and homemade food to the office as much as possible.

 

Keep healthy snacks handy. You feel more hungry at night so whenever this hunger hits you, go for healthy snacks like roasted chana, makhana or nuts instead of pizzas, burgers, or samosas. This will prevent you from binging.

 

Consume plenty of protein. Protein-rich food keeps you active and alert, which makes them a perfect choice to opt for during the night shift hours. You can include protein through eggs, lean meals or can carry GRD Bix protein biscuits - . GRD protein shakes would be a nutritious and tasty start for the work, leave your home with a belly full of protein shake, it will make you feel full for longer.

 

Water, water, and water!! Drinking water solves half of the problems. Hydrate yourself with water instead of preserved beverages of coffee. Drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day. Water will keep you fresh and save you from unwanted cravings which end with consuming lots of unhealthy food.

 

Before you go to bed after your shift hours are over, eat a light meal that should be balanced and should consist of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Working at night hours when the body’s metabolic function slow, puts stress on the stomach. Having a light meal before sleep will improve the quality of sleep and will be easier to digest.

 

Your body is programmed to have rest around 3 am to 4 am. At these hours you can feel more tired and sleepy. Have a healthy protein-rich snack around this time. Protein will provide you with instant energy and prevent you from feeling dull and sleepy.

 

Night shift workers should have their main meal of the day before the shift starts, which should be high in protein and fibres to keep you energetic and full for a longer time. Try to have this meal at regular dinner times between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

 

Things not to do:

Avoid packeted oily foods. Try to go for freshly prepared food as much as possible.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. This can affect your sleep and for night shift workers maintaining a proper sleep schedule is really important. Avoid these especially for hours before going to sleep.

Do not go to bed with a hungry stomach. It may lead to poor sleep and may cause acidity.

Say no to oily foods. Oily foods will make you feel bloated and will also lead to weight gain. Your metabolism is weak at night, it will be difficult for the body to digest oily foods. This will be directly stored as fats in your body.

 

Healthy options to choose from for your hectic night shift:

 

Night snack pack:

Your night snack pack should include,

Stick cut veggies like carrot, cucumber, beet with a pinch of pepper.

Some slices of apples with some grapes or pear.

And a hummus dip!

 

Boiled/Devilled Eggs:

Eggs are rich in protein, easy to prepare, and easier to pack. They keep you full for longer.

Devilled Eggs: To prepare devilled eggs simply remove the yellow yolk from the boiled eggs. Mash the yolk and add little mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the mixture back on egg whites. And your Devilled eggs are ready.

 

Fruit and Nut Mix:

Classic dried fruits and nuts may not seem much interesting and fulling option but they are rich in fibre and potassium.

Toasts with healthy toppings

Whole wheat bread with topping as tomatoes, greens, lean meat, and cheese.

Granola mix

To be precise, homemade granola. It can contain oats, coconut flakes, nuts, honey, and a pinch of cinnamon to control sugar levels in the blood.

The nutrition and diet rules are not straight forward for night shift workers as they are for others.  Always make conscious decisions about what you eat.

 

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