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Night shift and healthy eating

Stress 101   (395 Views | 5 Replies)

77 Profile Views; 1 Post

Hey all! I’m back on nights after about 3 years of being a day person. I am struggling with healthy eating both at work and on my days off. I know what I should be eating but I feel like I am having very strong food aversions. When I’m working at night I feel sick if I eat anything more than a peanut butter sandwich, and on my days off I can really only stomach simple carbs and salt. Thinking about meats or vegetables or any “real food” makes me want to puke. Pretty sure it’s related to being back on nights because I never had this problem on days. And before you ask, no I’m not pregnant lol. Anyone else experience this or have any advice? 

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342 Posts; 1,855 Profile Views

I lost 18 pounds once after going to nights and having another trauma happen in my life.  I had NO idea I'd lost that much till I pulled on a pair of jeans and realized they were too big, though I did know I wasn't eating as much as previously.  I think once you get more used to working nights and all that entails your intake will increase and improve.  Just hang in there, give your body what it wants.

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Nurse BB is a BSN and specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, Neuro, Personal Trainer.

5 Posts; 203 Profile Views

Hey there @Felicia Saclolo!

The same thing happened to me when I worked the night shift. I asked several loved ones who worked the night shift and they also expressed similar sentiments. 


That's what I determined worked for me, and no night-shifter, especially one with a family, wants to hear that because it means a lifestyle overhaul or else it's unattainable. 

For me, I had to be consistent with my sleep schedule, even on my nights off, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day no matter what...Then my appetite returned. 

It meant that I had scheduled "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" like other people which ultimately, tended to be smaller and "snackier." I found I still had aversions to things I previously loved (like salads), but I was drawn toward sweeter, simpler things, especially fruits. 

Don't eat the junk in the break room. It always made me feel worse because it was frequently loaded with carbs and sugars and sitting out for hours on end (cupcakes leftover from day shift, donuts students had brought in, etc.)

Here are some ideas that worked for me:

-Oatmeal with fruit and nuts

-Plant-based yogurt with berries and flax and chia seeds

-Fruit smoothies with a plant-based protein mixed and greens such as as spinach and kale blended in (hide the salad! Yeah!)

-Bowls of veggies and rice, lightly seasoned

-Mashed potatoes with pinto beans

-Lentil soup with a small slice of toasted wheat bread and vegan "butter"

-Hard boiled eggs (instant pot makes ones that peel super easy)

-Bananas with peanut butter

-Avocado toast

-Apple slices with cinnamon sprinkled on top

-Hot tea

-Grilled cheese and tomato soup

I hope you find something that works for you! It can be tricky - be patient with your body as you go through the adjustment. I noticed that every time I changed shifts from days to nights then to eves, I've always gone through about a three month adjustment where I feel kind of "off" for that time. It does get better! Stick with it!



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barcode120x has 3 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in Telemetry.

534 Posts; 10,274 Profile Views

Meal prep the right way maybe with basic foods? Restarting my meal prep from about a year ago (2020 goals! lol). My meals are spread across 5 meals and basically eaten almost every 4 hours. Sometimes I combine the meal depending on how my shift is going. When I say basic, I mean bare bones basic. Like for me, my first meal is 2 scoops protein powder, 1 cup egg whites, and 2 slices of turkey bacon. My 2nd meal is 5oz potatoes + 6 oz chicken breast. And so forth. Everything is simply cooked, no major additives. Simple salt and pepper and/or maybe powders for like chicken, ground turkey, white fish, etc. 

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3 Posts; 647 Profile Views

Read Delay Don't Deny or listen to podcasts. One was a night nurse.


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43 Posts; 582 Profile Views

Take  a shaker bottle with you and replace those energy drinks with "amino energy" powder and water


This gives electrolytes, caffeine, Bcaa's and the best part is its 0 calorie.  peanut butter banana cliff bars are my go to snack along with quest bars.


the caffeine keeps you awake and alert, electrolytes for functioning, bcaa's for muscle support, 0 calories to keep you slim


Get "amino energy" off amazon.  you can find it at walmart too.

Edited by JackdLPN

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