When you’re on the go, it’s hard to resist thinking about food in the same way – something that needs to be consumed quickly.
But as shift workers and the people on the front line, you need sustained energy.
Working shifts can mess with your body clock which makes what you consume even more important. Many shift workers experience a change in appetite, trouble falling asleep, weight loss or gain, stomach issues and high blood pressure.
You can avoid these issues by being conscious about what you’re putting into your body. Follow these 5 tips to help you stay healthy even when you’re working long shifts.
- Eat your main meal before going to work. If you’re on the afternoon shift, eat around noon and for the overnight leg, eat your meal at 6.00pm. Bring small meals and healthy snacks into work to prevent you from buying food.
- Avoid unhealthy foods. Junk foods, while easy if you’re short on time, don’t offer you much in the way of fuel for your body. Steer clear of foods such as hamburgers, sweets and vending machine snacks. Drink water instead of sodas or energy drinks and limit your coffee intake to two or three cups per day.
- Take your time eating. Don’t rush when you eat. The slower you eat, the fuller you become. This helps you prevent overeating. Keep a bottle of water near you at all times. Take sips regularly to help keep you hydrated and satisfied.
- Don’t eat before bed. If you’re on your way home from work and you’re hungry, avoid eating a big meal. Consume a small healthy snack and start your day with a big nutritious breakfast. It will be much easier to fall asleep.
- Limit your alcohol intake. While it can be tempting to have a knock-off drink, try to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. It might make you temporarily feel more relaxed, but in the long term you might risk a reliance on it. Turn to healthy relaxation activities like meditation, reading or listening to music. This also helps you avoid drinking alone, which will happen if you’re working odd hours.
Just because you’re working shifts doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy. It just takes more of a proactive approach. Start small with these five habits and you’ll notice a difference in how you feel, at work and home.