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16 Healthy Late Night Snacks For Night Shift Workers

10 min read
Published on 29 November, 2022

Working the night shift may drastically alter your life. The human body is meant to function during the day and relax at night. Frequent changes in shift work have a huge influence on one's internal body clock. Particularly night shifts disrupt the body's biorhythm.

Working against your natural body rhythms presents a unique challenge that adds extra stress when you work night shifts. It implies that it is even more vital for people to support their bodies' biorhythms. Eating a nutritious diet can help productivity and maintain focus at work throughout the night or early morning.

Shift workers may need to pay closer attention to their mental and physical well-being. It would be best to prioritize getting enough sleep and eating nutritious foods.

Myriad no. of studies have consistently demonstrated that people who work night shifts weigh more than people who work day shifts. An increase in weight is also linked to other health issues. But don't worry; there are ways to avoid weight gain and other health issues. This blog has provided some healthy eating ideas for night shift employees to assist them in living a healthy lifestyle.

Manage portion control when selecting snacks.

The 3 Thumb Rules

The-3-Thumb-Rules

If you work at night, you know how difficult it is to eat healthily. Shift work may harm your appetite, weight, and capacity to sleep and relax.

Hence, here are the three thumb rules listed down.

1. 400 calories or fewer

Snacks should be 400 calories or fewer. This way, it helps to avoid excess calorie consumption and weight gain.

2. Fresh Veggies and Fruits

You must include fresh fresh fruits and veggies. Snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables are high in nutrients and easy to digest, making sleeping simpler after those late work hours.

3. Low Sugar

Sugar-free snacks assist in balancing blood sugar levels and minimize sugar surges that might interrupt sleep.

16 Best Healthy Late Night Snacks

When working the night shift, employees frequently require a lot of energy. Most of the time, they search for meals that will keep them awake and attentive throughout the night to accomplish their tasks during their shift.

It's simple for people who work night shifts if you have an early meal around 8 p.m. Schedule two snack periods and avoid snacking during the night.

Experiment with these 16 healthy eating suggestions for night-shift workers that will help you feel best during and after your shift.

1. Tart Cherries

Tart-Cherries

Tart cherries are a must-have for every fruit lover. Consider including tart cherries, such as Montmorency, or cherry juice, in your late-night snack alternatives. They will satisfy your taste senses.

Furthermore, they contain anti-inflammatory properties and may give protection against inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis and heart disease. Studies suggest that tart cherries are excellent for sleeplessness, which is a big issue for night shift workers. Regular ingestion of tart cherry juice combats insomnia, resulting in an additional 90 minutes of sleep.

Tart cherries contain melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone, but only in trace amounts.

2. Grain Crackers

Grain-Crackers

Grab a box of your favorite nut flour and seed crackers for a dose of fiber, protein, and fat to keep you satisfied all night. One of the finest late-night snacks is whole-grain crackers with cheese.

You may also combine them with nut butter to add fat and protein. You'll get a great blend of carbohydrates and proteins to keep you full.

Cheese is also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that aids melatonin production.

Pros To keep healthy, consume low-fat cheddar cheese.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin-Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are low in calories and deliver 310 - 420 magnesium for adults, which is believed to improve sleep. They are the ideal option for late-night nibbles.

They are high in the sleep-inducing mineral magnesium and the amino acid tryptophan. They're also high in zinc, which helps the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin. Furthermore, they're satisfyingly crispy and flavorful.

4. Cottage Cheese

Cottage-Cheese

You can go for some cottage cheese. Some people avoid it because of its bland flavor. However, it might raise your serotonin levels.

Research shows that it can help you quickly attain your weight loss objectives. So, try cottage cheese with your favorite seasoning when you get hunger cravings at midnight.

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek-Yogurt

Yet another healthy late-night snack is yogurt. It is high in calcium, which increases bone strength. Furthermore, calcium aids in the production of melatonin by the body from the amino acid tryptophan.

Remember to read the labels before you buy it because certain types are heavy in added sugar. Sweetened yogurts may be appealing, but if you want to avoid the additional calories, choose the unflavored kind. Choose plain yogurt and flavor it with berries, peaches, chopped almonds, and antioxidant-rich honey.

6. Dark Chocolate

Dark-Chocolate

Having a sweet tooth often makes you rush to devour those sweetened chocolates. However, it will only disrupt your blood sugar levels and interfere with sleep.

It's best to stick to dark chocolates that are high in antioxidants and low in sugar. Its high antioxidants can help prevent disease. As a result, dark chocolate is an excellent late-night snack.

Consider eating dark chocolate with 70% cacao or higher.

7. Popcorn

Popcorn

Popcorn is a terrific bedtime snack since you can eat a lot without breaking the pocketbook. In reality, 3 cups of popcorn contain less than 100 calories and roughly 4 grams of fiber to satisfy your appetite.

While ready-to-eat popcorn contains a lot of salt and potentially dangerous substances like perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), home-cooked popcorn can be a light and nourishing snack to satisfy cravings.

If desired, replace the butter with dried spices to boost flavor.

8. Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Besides being a good breakfast option, oatmeal is also a good nighttime snack. A warm, relaxing bowl of oats might be just what you need. Even at midnight, it is good for calming stomach rumblings.

Oatmeal is high in fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol. It also includes complex carbs that break down slowly, minimizing a spike in blood sugar levels.

According to one research, complex carbs stimulate your brain to release the neurotransmitter serotonin, which calms your body. As a result, you can sleep better and more soundly after work.

Steel-cut oats are popular due to their distinct texture and flavor, but they require a long time to cook. Instead, make plain instant oatmeal with low-fat or fat-free milk, 1 tablespoon of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some unsweetened dried fruit.

9. Nuts

Nuts

Nuts are an excellent choice when you're both hungry and weary, as they need less work to prepare. Furthermore, nuts have several nutritional advantages and are a natural source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

A banana with a dozen cashews, an apple with a handful of almonds, or a pear with a few walnuts are all tasty combinations.

If you don't have nuts, put peanut butter on banana slices or dip apple slices in almond butter.

10. Eggs

Eggs

Eggs are prepared in numerous ways. No matter how they are prepared, they are nutritious. They are a terrific source of protein when you need something relatively fast and filling to get you through the morning.

Have it boiled or scrambled; get the tryptophan needed to make melatonin levels. Tryptophan is the hormone that governs sleep. Thus the best sleep hack after work is to consume foods high in melatonin.

11. Hummus

Hummus

This chickpea-based Mediterranean staple will keep you satiated for hours. It's the perfect late-night snack because it contains protein and healthy fats. Spread it on toast or use it as a dip.

Hummus contains a perfect balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Add a side of veggies, such as carrots or peppers, and whole-grain pretzels for dipping, and you've got a quick evening snack.

12. Baked Sweet Potatoes

Baked-Sweet-Potatoes

We often crave the tempting french fries late at night. However, fried foods might derail your weight loss plans. Don't worry; you can have baked ones. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are a healthier alternative to regular potatoes as they are high in fiber and include a little protein.

13. Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted-Chickpeas

A handful of roasted chickpeas on your desk can work wonders. Chickpeas contain key vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, increasing your energy and productivity at work.

They are also high in fiber and low in calories, so you won't gain weight. The fiber will keep you full for a long period.

14. Banana

Banana

Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium. Potassium lowers blood pressure and relaxes your muscles, while magnesium improves sleep.

You can create a smoothie by adding a spoonful of peanut butter. You can also put them on top of almond butter toast, yogurt, or oatmeal for a nutritious snack.

If you have a sweet tooth, mix frozen bananas with a scoop of protein powder and a tablespoon of cacao powder to make an ice cream substitute. This will satisfy your sweet tooth while also providing protein to help regulate blood sugar.

15. Roasted Makhana

Roasted-Makhana

Roasted makhanas or foxnuts are also nutritious snacks. As they are high in carbs and proteins and low in calories, these small nutritional powerhouses are the ideal healthy midnight snack. So eating 30 grams equals a large bowlful and keeps you full. They are rich in minerals and phytonutrients. However, eat roasted makhanas instead of fried ones.

Makhanas are gluten-free and are also recognized to help with high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

16. Tea

Tea

We're not talking about your typical caffeinated tea with plenty of sugar and cream. That might disrupt your sleep. Instead, you may unwind with a cup of green tea.

Chamomile tea is also an excellent choice before going to bed. It is caffeine-free and includes apigenin, which might help you sleep better after work.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Snacking At Night

You only need to make a few tiny changes to modify your habits in the long run. This way, you'll be able to go through your future night shifts feeling healthy and energized. You can handle it by simply following the dos and don'ts listed below.

do-s-and-don-ts

Do’s

A few best practices are listed below.

1. Light Meal

Large meals can reduce attentiveness and make you dizzy. Hence, consider consuming smaller meals during the night shift.

Eat a light supper after your shift ends and before bed. It should be a balanced blend of carbs, protein, and fat.

Because your body naturally slows digestion and other metabolic processes at night, having a light meal promotes higher-quality sleep and is easier to digest.

Never go to bed hungry, as this might cause restless sleep.

2. Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated by drinking water instead of caffeinated or preserved beverages. Make an effort to consume at least 8-10 glasses of water daily.

Read: Water Challenge: A Step towards a Healthy Lifestyle

3. Fresh Food

Reduce your consumption of preserved and packaged foods in favor of fresh alternatives. Always attempt to pack as many fresh and homemade meals as possible.

4. Protein-Rich Foods

Foods rich in protein keep you awake, making them an excellent choice for evening or night-shift meals and snacks.

Read: 7 High Protein Snacks For Work To Boost Energy and Health

Dont’s

Some meals may trigger stomach distress and prevent you from sleeping after work.

1. Excess Carbohydrates and Sweets

Although high-sugar meals may lessen the time it takes to fall asleep, evidence indicates that diets low in vegetables and fish but rich in sugar and carbs are often associated with poor sleep quality.

2. Fatty, Spicy, Acidic and Oily Foods

Individuals who suffer from acid reflux should eat their final meal a few hours before bed and avoid typical trigger foods such as mint or spicy, fatty, or very acidic foods.

Avoid greasy favorites like potato chips, french fries, or any fried item that takes longer to digest and adds to weight gain.

Eating a lot of fried meals will not only make you feel bloated and heavy, but it will also contribute to weight gain. As our digestive system is inactive at night, it becomes harder for the body to digest meals. Acidity and gastric problems are caused by eating oily or unhealthy foods.

3. Caffeine

Caffeinated beverages, such as soda, coffee, tea, and energy drinks, have been demonstrated to deteriorate mood and sleep in adults and children. Limit your caffeine intake to 400 mg or less daily, and try not to have it at night.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol can make you dizzy. It can also lower your total sleep length, impair sleep quality, and perhaps increase symptoms of some sleep disorders after work.

A few hours before going to bed, try switching to herbal teas or water.

Wrap Up

To combat nocturnal exhaustion, having the appropriate foods on hand will help increase your energy and keep you alert, focused, and buzzing all night. It's no wonder sustaining high energy levels and keeping focused becomes difficult for shift workers working these late nights and early morning hours. But, with this proper meal and a little planning, you may prevent the energy collapses in the middle of the night.

Eating the appropriate amount at the right time is the foundation of a healthy body. Choose fresh ingredients and keep processed foods to a minimum. That is all it requires to remain healthy.

Keep yourself safe and healthy!

This article is written by Ritushree R Singh, who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. Besides having a curious heart with an avid taste for music, she relishes traveling to new places and exploring different cultures whenever possible. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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