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Shift work

First off, Hello to everyone from a new member!
I would love to hear some of your suggestions to help with my diet. I work a rotating shift schedule and it makes a normal schedule impossible. I work nights, then days, then nights, and days again. Then I have a week off to recover from it!
Thanks in advance!


Sat. Dec 30, 11:47pm

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I would (and do) plan my meals in advance. I write on a whiteboard on the fridge the days of the week and under each one what I'm eating that day. Then I make a shopping list from that plan and stock up. If I have time I make anything I can in advance. I usually make breakfast for the whole week on Sun, package it in individual portions and then keep it in the fridge at work. I also make lunch for the whole week (usually a homeade pot of veggie soup and sandwiches on high-fiber bread) and then dinner is the only thing I really have to prepare daily. I plan my snacks too and keep a week's worth in my gym bag so I have my 'treat' for working out.

If I had your shifts, and my roomate actually used to do something similar (8-4 for 2 weeks, then 4-12 for 2 weeks and then 12-8 for 2 weeks) I would still plan every meal, but for the meals I eat at work I would make my food for the week ahead of time and package it up and then just grab a serving before going in (don't forget to plan for snacks). I'd probably try to plan my sleep and gym schedule too. I do really well as long as I have a strategy and some structure (even if it's self-imposed). It's when I have no plan and am stuck trying to come up with some great idea when I'm starved and/or tired that I usually go for convenience over nutrition. I can make my nutrition convenient, but it takes a bit of forethought and preparation.

My roomate OTOH stopped eating regular meals and went to mini-meals every ~3 hrs since she couldn't count on regular meal times. She just kept lean meats, veggies, high-fiber wraps, salad, soup, nuts, LF cheese and fruit around and would pack a cooler to have at work. I kinda prefer to know what I'm eating and when, but this worked well for her, so there's a couple of ideas for different strategies. I think I could expand my planning to do things this way but mini-meals don't work for me - it's the 'mini' part that I don't quite seem to grasp and it ends up closer to 6 meals instead of mini-meals. :-)

Mainly though - know thyself and find what does and doesn't work for you. This is where the logging can be a really helpful tool - it can really enable you to measure the outcome of a particular stratedy and decide whether it's working or mainly ineffectual or having the opposite effect altogether. It also helps you examine the way you react when things don't go so great and hopefully change your reactions for the better. Best wishes!

Sunday, December 31, 2006, 3:04 AM

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I worked nights for a year and picked up extra shifts on days. Planning is the key. Like the previous poster noted, preparing food ahead of time is a great idea. Also, following some kind on schedule and having snacks on hand (nuts, yogurt, fruit and peanut butter). Good luck.

Monday, January 01, 2007, 4:24 PM

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