Food — It brings such pleasure and pain, depending on how you look at it. Biting into a piece of chocolate cake can bring a person joy until stepping on the scale after one too many slices. Eating habits vary from person to person, but what if you work a night shift, graveyard or something other than the typical work schedule?
Here are some ideas from the night news and digital desk:
Bethany: Plan. My downfall every time is not planning, and that is when I indulge a little too much. Because I work nights, I cook dinner while I eat lunch. Sometimes, especially when I have activities during the day, I don’t feel like making my dinner ahead of time and throwing it in a plastic container. I try to cook my week meals on my weekends (Sunday and Monday), so by the time it hits Friday, if I want to indulge a little I can. Portion control also has been a challenge for me, so I try to bring healthy snacks to munch on.
Another suspected issue with this shift if the times I eat; the no-after-8p.m. rule is out the window. I just make sure I am spacing out my meals, filling in with snacks if I am hungry and making sure I have enough time between dinner and sleeping.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail recently reported about how eating late, even with the same calorie intake day to day, will make you fat. In the article, it reads : “Dr Satchidananda Panda, the study’s lead author, said that at certain times of day the liver, intestines and muscles are at peak efficiency, while at other times they are ‘sleeping’. He added: ‘Every organ has a clock. Those metabolic cycles are critical.’” I think that when you change your internal schedule, your organs should follow and not necessarily make you fat. (the liver will sleep at 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. when you are, not 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.!) I think people who initially switch to this schedule can be mindful of their eating, try not to overeat and create a new schedule for themselves.
Stephanie: I don’t like to cook, so when I commit to it, I make enough for ten people. That way, I have enough leftovers to feed me for a while. If I get tired of curry stir-fry for dinner for the fourth day in a row, I freeze what’s left and eat it a few weeks, or months even, down the road. I also try to keep the pantry free of easy-to-eat processed foods. My fridge is always full of raw fruits and vegetables. If I have more than I can eat before it goes bad, I can it or freeze it. Seriously, there is nothing better in January than popping open a Ball jar of York County peaches grown and canned the summer before. I like to pack my dinner for work rather than slip out to the grocery store or fast food joint. I usually include an 8-ounce yogurt serving, a piece of fruit, a salad and something chocolate for dessert. Hey, we can’t be good all the time. I avoid sugary drinks and just drink water.
Caryn: Eating well and often for me is HARD. I have a part-time job during the day, so that doesn’t lend itself to good cooking or eating habits. When I pack it’s a PB&J (using whole-wheat bread and low-sugar jam) and a banana. Other items include crackers or pretzels for munching later or some yogurt. I love to cook, and I’m good at it, but it rarely happens. On the nights I go out, I try to hit up healthy places, such as the salad bar at Weis or get grilled chicken nuggets and a fruit cup at Chick-fil-A. I can’t resist a horrendously fattening meal once in a while. Usually it’s a crispy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A with waffle fries.
How do you cope with the weird eating schedule? What are some of your healthy picks?
Read more about healthy living on the night shift:
Getting your exercise
Want to be fit at work? Check out some easy, healthy office lunch recipes, other fitness tips and more here.