A good friend of mine used to work shift work, and when the night shift rolled around, she always had problems eating. Some foods made her too tired, while others (like food or drinks with caffeine) gave her problems after her shift was over. She never quite got the balance that she had hoped for, and she also had no idea what to eat for snacks.
For all you nurses working the night shift—and especially those of you who are new to it—here are some ideas to keep in mind and some snacks that you can turn to that will help keep you moving and not make you feel tired.
Get Your Protein
You know that if you eat carb-rich foods or sugary beverages at the beginning of your shift, you will crash in no time. So when looking for snacks, choose those with lots of protein, such as:
- Peanut butter
- Turkey or chicken
- Hard boiled eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Tuna and crackers
- String cheese
Consider grabbing a handful of nuts at the beginning of your shift to help keep your energy up.
Suppose you took on an extra shift or an extra few hours and are now working at night? If you have time before the extra work, head to the cafeteria and get some high-protein snacks. And if you know about it ahead of time, always try to bring your snacks from home. If snacks from vending machines are your only option, go for the granola bars or even peanut butter crackers. While prepackaged foods aren’t the best, sometimes you have to go with them just to eat something to give your body fuel.
When you get home after a long night of work, then you can eat some carbs. If you want to have some cereal before you go to sleep, feel free. The carbs will help you to relax.