Working the night shift often leads to a poor diet and significant weight gain. Unhealthy eating isn't the only cause of weight gain in shift workers. Because working at night isn't natural, it can result in the body's storing excess fat as it consumes carbohydrates when it should be sleeping.
Protein provides the body with energy throughout the day and night. Many night shift workers, though, rely on sugary foods and caffeine to stay awake. Lean proteins, like fish, chicken and lean beef, can keep the body going on the night shift. Protein-rich foods, instead of sugary snacks, can also prevent weight gain and combat fatigue.
Fruits and Vegetables
The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice recommends eating fruits and vegetables to prevent glucose levels from fluctuating while working night hours. Smaller meals can prevent weight gain on an overnight shift and supply the nutrients to stay focused on the job.
Night shift workers should eat whole grains, like brown rice or whole grain breads, instead processed foods like white bread or rice. Whole grains are an essential part of a balanced diet for weight control and weight loss.
Eliminate Fast Food
Many night workers rely on fast food because it's available. Bringing prepared food to work is the best way to insure a well-balanced meal on the night shift. Cutting fast food from the diet can significantly reduce fat and calories that cause weight gain.
Monitor Caffeine and Sugar
Caffeine and sugar are often the main food groups for overnight workers. Sugary snacks, coffee and soda to eliminate the tired feeling can be tempting. Caffeine can help night shift workers stay awake, but it also can disrupt sleep during the day. People who work nights have more sleep disorders, like insomnia, than those who work days. Sleep deprivation also can lead to poor eating habits. Breaking the caffeine habit, while difficult, can help control weight.