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 Post subject: Feeding shift workers
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2002 6:01 am
Posts: 1445
Location: Jeddore
As more and more of us are involved in keeping the economy and essential (also not so essential) services running 24/7 we need to address eating for shift wokers.
Good article that has helped me tweak my digestive system to adapt to rotational shifts.

"With the trend towards "open all hours" shiftwork, irregular hours have become more common.

But shiftwork is more than a pattern of work, it's a way of life. It affects the way our body functions, including digestion, sleep disturbances and respiratory ailments. To manage all of this well takes a whole of life approach

Recent research is beginning to link an increase in cardiovascular risk with shift work. It is then particularly important to plan to avoid those high fat midnight snacks from the chocolate machine - often the only food source available if you forget to bring food to work. This may help contribute to the higher weight levels found in people who work night shifts.

Here are some nutrition tips to get you through the night or day…

# Have a plan to manage a typical day.
Night shift workers often tend to have a main meal with the family before they leave for work. This ensures that you are sharing your main meal and are less likely to eat a large meal at the end of your shift, just before going to bed. Avoid having large, fatty meals too close to bed time - 3 hours between eating and sleeping is a good rule, but shiftworkers often can't last that long before collapsing into bed. If this is not an option, move your main meal to the middle of your shift, or even better split your meal into two smaller meals.
Plan a light breakfast or light supper such as toast with a topping or soup and grain toast before bed. Having a lighter meal will reduce the risk of disturbed sleep due to gastro intestinal disturbances such as reflux.
Plan a typical three meals and two to three snacks in 24 hours, but you may need to alter the time you eat these meals to suit your shift. Many shift workers seem to add an extra meal or miss a meal and this can have consequences for your nutrient intake and weight.
If cooking a main meal at the end of a shift seems a chore, don't miss out on your veggies! Include them earlier in your shift and choose easy options such as frozen vegetable packs or add vegies to low fat frozen prepared meals.

# Take nutritious snacks to work.
These can include tinned fruit, yoghurt, chunky soups, fruit bread, dried fruit and grain crackers. Make your carbohydrates slow release by using grain or wholemeal breads, add salads to sandwiches, added mixed beans to soup and pasta sauces.

# Keep up your fluid and fibre.
If you don't, the bowel can become sluggish and get out of rhythm on shift work. Make your cereal high fibre and experiment to determine which time of the day suits your gut best.

# Timetable some exercise into your week.
Aim for 3 hours a day. One advantage of shiftwork is that the gyms and pools are often at their quietest after you have finished work. Exercise reduces some of the risk factors associated with shift work, such as heart disease, and it can improve your sense of well being.

# Go easy with caffeinated drinks
These can affect sleep patterns, aggravate gastrointestinal symptoms and increase blood pressure. Limit plunger and instant coffee as well as caffeinated cola drinks. Choose teas, herbal teas and push up your water intake.

# Develop alternative methods of increasing your energy levels
Plan some breaks, vary work activities to avoid fatigue and boredom, and take short exercise breaks when possible."

Caroline Salisbury

> 25% of NA workers are on shift work, interesting link on how it may impact (excuss the pun) many of us who fight natures rhythm.
http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/work_sch ... ftwrk.html


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