Energize for your next shift!
Submitted by Tanya Leung, dietitian (Renal program), Clinical Nutrition Services
Working shifts can be quite demanding on the body for energy due to the hours and disruption in eating and sleeping schedules. Choosing nutritious meals/snacks and making some lifestyle changes can be the difference needed to help you energize for your next shift!
Bring your food to work
By packing your own meals and snacks, you steer clear of the less healthy choices from vending machines and restaurants.
For nutrition-packed meals, try to include at least three out of the four food groups from Canada’s Food Guide: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide.
If your workplace would allow it, leaving some fruit, nuts and whole grain crackers at work could save you time so you don’t have to bring it every day.
Skip snacks that are high in sugar such as a chocolate bar, a sugary beverage or candy. They may give a quick burst of energy, but can leave you feeling sluggish later.
Preparing a snack that includes little protein and carbohydrates will provide energy when you start to feel tired or hungry. Examples of energizing snacks could be ½ cup of berries with some creamy Greek yogurt or a ¼ cup of roasted almonds with an apple.
Instead of a large meal, a light meal before bed may be helpful as it may be hard to sleep well when you are too hungry or full. Some whole grain cereal with milk and fruit, or a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter and ½ of a sliced banana can be some examples of a light meal.
Remember to stay hydrated to avoid symptoms such as tiredness, irritability, and headaches, which can result from dehydration.
Keep a water bottle nearby and drink regularly to keep your energy up.
Choose water as your first source of hydration and limit sugary drinks and juice, as they can give you a quick boost of energy but you may experience low energy levels later on.
If you don’t prefer water, try different herbal teas or frozen fruit, like strawberries mixed with mint, to flavour your water.
Watch Caffeinated Drinks
Drinking caffeinated beverages can help you stay alert but limit your consumption to 400mg of caffeine per day (approximately 4 small cups of regular coffee). Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours and therefore too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, make you feel nervous or irritable.
Try swapping out caffeinated drinks to decaffeinated tea or coffee, herbal teas, or water about four hours before bedtime.
During your breaks, go for a quick walk outside, stretch in your office, or take a few flights of stairs. Some light activity can give you energy, improve your mood and help you sleep better.
Looking for more information?
Check out our Clinical Nutrition Services page on PHC Connect for regular updates on interesting nutrition topics that are in the news, nutrition tips, up and coming items at the grocery store, facts on different foods and more!
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