Well first of all define “healthy” – Australian dietary standards are a great guide, but EVERYONE is different. What is healthy for some may be a trigger to flare in symptoms to others. Not everyone should cut carbs or avoid meat, so I am going to teach you how to pack a healthy “lunch” for night shift.
Pick a protein you can tolerate – you know your body better than anyone else so listen to it. If steak sits too heavy in your stomach or legumes cause gas and bloating, then try something else. You want a palm size worth in your crib box, that’s about 2 eggs, or 1 burger pattie. Don’t forget there’s a lot of variety you can have here mix it up. Don’t just have chicken every day. Try tofu, kangaroo, protein powder, nuts, chickpeas, venison, sardines, or tempeh. A variety of protein will keep you interested in your meals and nourish you with a range of different amino acids.
Add your dark green leafy vegetables. Everyone needs to be eating more of these foods. Yes they are bitter and probably not the thing you are craving. Dark green leafy vegetables will provide you with a variety or B vitamins for energy to get you through the night. Try a range of different ones but here is a guide to start – rocket, broccoli, kale, mesculin, spinach, bok choy, and beetroot leaves. You can just buy a bag of big greens from the supermarket if you have to, but just get a good handful into your lunchbox.
Top it off with some tasty, tasty fat. Healthy fats will keep your brain stimulated to concentrate until the sun comes up and it’s bedtime. You want to have around 1 – 2 tablespoons worth of fat in your meal. Favourites to include can be:
- Avocado or olives, that you can mix through your salad leaves
- Olive oil, either fresh dressed over a salad or that you have cooked your vegetables and meat in.
- Fish, two in one deal proteins and fats. Sardines, salmon and tuna are easy canned foods.
- Coconut, think curries and stews, mixing coconut cream with a variety of spices to make a delicious based for your protein and vegetables
- Milk, another two in one deal with protein. This can be your coffee for the shift or in your lunch smoothie. Just avoid having coffee 6 hours before you have to go to bed.
- Seeds, either added into your salad, blended in you smoothie, or mixed with your nuts
THAT’S ALL FOLKS! Keep it simple. Use a similar formulation for your day and evening shifts and you will soon see a dramatic change in your mood, energy and overall health. It might sound like a lot of food, so listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Just because it is smoko time, doesn’t mean you have to eat.