Q: Can you talk about healthy eating habits for those who work the evening shift? You always hear about not eating after 7, but that coincides with those who work the morning shift. I eat at 8 p.m. – L. Sims
A. That is a myth about not eating after 7 p.m. However, it is best to give your foods three hours to digest before you go to sleep. There are certain foods you should definitely avoid eating during your shift, such as caffeine and sugar. These foods will give you a false sense of energy, which will lead you to eat more sugar and drink more caffeine when you crash.
You should eat complex carbs, which break down slowly and release a steady stream of energy to your body. These foods include brown rice, sweet potatoes, green and brown lentils, whole grain cereals and pastas, whole fruits (with the skin on) and vegetables rich in fiber.
Third shift workers need to increase their intake in vitamin D-fortified foods, juices, animal and plant milks, yogurt and other dairy products. During the later hours of your shift and your dinnertime, your meals and snacks should be foods that are easily digested. Vegetables and fruits are good light snacks. Turkey, flaxseeds or almonds can all be added to salads.
Before you go to bed you may want to try chamomile tea with a teaspoon of honey in it. It has a mild sedative effect.
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