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The Night Shift: What to Avoid Eating and Drinking

Working the night shift can be difficult enough as it is, but add in the wrong foods and drinks, and it can easily become a nightmarish experience. While there are certain foods you should eat to maximize your energy levels during a night shift, there are also some that you should avoid. Let’s take a look at what not to eat or drink while working through the night.

What Not to Eat During the Night Shift

Sugary Foods and Drinks

The most important thing to remember when working the night shift is that sugar is not your friend. That means no sugary snacks or drinks, such as soda or energy drinks. Although these may seem like they will give you an extra burst of energy, they will only provide short-term relief before crashing hard. In addition, eating too many sugary snacks can put you at risk for weight gain and health problems like diabetes. Stick with high-protein snacks instead to give yourself sustained energy throughout your shift.

Caffeine Overload

Many rely on coffee and other caffeinated beverages to get them through their shifts, but too much caffeine can have the opposite effect. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can lead to jitters and anxiety, which won’t help you stay focused during your shift. Try limiting yourself to one cup of coffee per four hours worked for an optimal level of alertness without feeling overstimulated.

Highly Processed Food

Processed food may be convenient when you’re in a rush in between shifts, but it’s best avoided if possible because it can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms. Highly processed food tends to lack essential nutrients that our bodies need for maximum performance—and when we don’t get those vitamins and minerals from our food sources, our bodies become exhausted faster than normal due to the lack of nutrition we consume. Instead, stick with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds packed with nutritional value to stay energized during your shift.

What to Eat During the Night Shift

Snack Smart

It’s easy to reach for quick and convenient snacks like chips, candy bars, and energy drinks when you’re feeling sluggish on the job. But these types of snacks often contain lots of sugar, which can lead to a crash in energy levels later on in your shift. Instead of reaching for high-sugar options, choose healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, or whole-grain crackers with hummus or peanut butter. These types of snacks will give you sustained energy throughout your shift without leaving you feeling sluggish later on.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is key when it comes to maintaining energy levels throughout your shift. Dehydration can cause fatigue and low energy levels, so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water while at work. You should also avoid too much caffeine since it can leave you feeling jittery and anxious later on in your shift. Try opting for herbal teas instead–they’ll give you an extra boost without making you feel wired after a few hours.

Eat Balanced Meals

When your work schedule is hectic and unpredictable, it may seem easier just to grab something quick from fast food restaurants or vending machines than to take time out of your day to prepare a meal from scratch. But if possible, try to plan ahead and pack yourself a nutritious meal before heading into work–it will help keep your energy levels up throughout the night and ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that are essential for staying energized over long periods of time. Also try not to skip meals; eating regularly will help ensure that you have enough fuel throughout the night!


Working the night shift can be challenging both physically and mentally–but with a little bit of planning ahead (and some healthy snacks!), it’s possible to stay energized throughout your entire shift! Eating balanced meals full of healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates will help keep your energy levels up all night long so that you can perform at peak performance no matter what time it is! So don’t forget—keep snacking smartly and staying hydrated during those late nights!

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