It is always a good thing to start Monday off right. One way to do so? Plan for your entire week. So I am prepping for my night shift next weekend (I work in an ER, so we are open 24/7) and I have been thinking about what I want to eat. I will work Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 pm to 7 am. I switch between day shift and night shift, every other month. As soon as you get used to one then it is time to switch to the other. The best thing that works for me is to completely flip my schedule.
My routine starts at 6 pm when I wake up, get ready and go downstairs for breakfast. I will pack my lunch and snacks as well. On night shift, I tend to eat less, no clue why.
I will eat breakfast, a piece of fruit for a snack around 11 pm or 12 am, lunch around 3 am and maybe another snack such as cucumber or pistachios before I go home at 7 am. I also love to keep a bag of popcorn in my drawer that I can pop if I get some serious cravings, because who doesn’t love popcorn, especially late at night.
I don’t usually eat dinner when I go home in the morning, I lay there and watch some TV until I fall asleep.
Since I do not eat dinner during these shifts I try to focus on what I want for my lunches. My days off leading up to a long weekend, I will cook and prep all my meals. It always helps me to write up a meal plan, even if I don’t stick to it.
First off, I love pasta, so don’t be surprised if you see it in my meals a lot. It’s my go-to, guilty pleasure, comfort food. Especially when you throw in some butter, garlic and mozzarella. Keep it simple.
Second, I love love love tea! It has so many good nutrients that can help your metabolism and there is a tea for every mood! Plus who wants to drink water all the time. It’s so boring. I drink tea all day every day. I typically drink green tea with mint. If you can get loose leaf, it is always better but I go with Bigelow because I live in a small town. That does not leave me with a lot of options as far as grocery stores, but when I go ‘home’ to Dallas/Fort Worth I always hit up Sprouts, Central Market, and Whole Foods.
Side note, I AM NOT AFRAID OF LEFTOVERS! I can show you how to overcome that fear too!
Breakfast Scrambled eggs, and some sliced fruit. I have strawberries and I will throw some grapes in too.
Snack Apple. My favorite is Granny Smith. I love the tartness but sometimes I will eat a Gala if there is one lying around at work.
Lunch Pasta Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake. I actually got this recipe from Kayla Itsines. She is amazing and a perfect example of eating healthy and balanced. This recipe consists of making a roux and adding in steamed broccoli, cauliflower and al dente pasta. I have attached the link to the recipe below:
Late Night Snack Cucumber. This is my go to snack late in my shift. It is palate cleansing and hydrating. I find that I tend to eat more and snack more if I have a food taste in my mouth. For example, we keep cookie dough in the freezer and yes sometimes I sneak a piece or two. However, I always want to keep going back for more if I have that aftertaste in my mouth, especially on night shift, I want all the cookie dough. I do keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in my purse if I ever feel the need to clean up a bit.
Breakfast For breakfast today I am feeling something not to heavy and I can have a smoothie at work. So I will go with toast and peanut butter. Then I sprinkle chia seeds on top. Yum!
Snack Smoothie. I was talking earlier about shopping at grocery stores in DFW. Well there is a Sprouts right by my Dad’s house and they have the best cheap produce. The quality is just as good as the farmers market and the pricing is great too. I stock up on fruit and buy enough to get me through til the next time. Then I go home, slice it up, and freeze it. It is perfect for smoothies, fruit and yogurt, and fruit compote (which I pair with vanilla ice cream and oats!) Today’s smoothie I am feeling peach, banana and strawberry paired with Greek yogurt and a splash of milk.
Lunch Chicken Fajitas! For my fajitas, I always prefer chicken because I kind of suck at cooking beef. I have a lot of pre-made seasonings that I make my self from scratch but you can use any type of seasoning for yours. I slice a chicken breast or two into thin pieces and toss with about 2 tsp of seasoning. I let that sit while I saute sliced onion and bell pepper (whichever color you prefer) with a little olive oil in a hot pan until they start to char. Then I transfer the peppers and onions from the pan to a storage container and toss the chicken into a pan. Once the chicken is cooked on the outside I add the pepper and onion and mix everything together. If you would like to add more seasoning, now is the time.
Late Night Snack Carrot Sticks. Simple and crisp. Always go for a veggie as a snack. It helps to fight off the cravings, but of course I slip up. We have a black hole of a stock room filled to the brim with cookies, candy and chips. Now, I don’t drink soda so there is no problem there but who doesn’t want a piece of chocolate here and there. Oh and did I mention we bake fresh cookies too? You know what that means…cookie dough. That is also one of my weaknesses. It has its own freezer in the break-room. There really should be a padlock on it. Although, that might make me want it more.
Breakfast Fage Greek Yogurt with frozen berries. I have blueberries raspberries and strawberries that I have left out during the day to thaw. When I wake up, it is so easy to scoop out about a half cup of Greek yogurt and add it to the berries. Mix it and see the beautiful swirls of purple and red. If you want some crunch you can add oats/granola and/or chia seeds.
Snack I love bringing a banana with some peanut butter. They make really small mason jars that I believe hold 4 oz. It is the perfect size container to put my homemade peanut butter in for travel.
Goulash? I think yes. I have two recipes for goulash that I make; Hungarian and American. I typically save the Hungarian recipe for winter time because it is close to a beef stroganoff. The American version is ground beef with tomato sauce, chunks of tomato, bell pepper and I even throw in some carrot. My mom was always sneaking veggies in somewhere and now as an adult I think, “the more the better.” I cook the egg noodles in the tomato sauce to give them extra flavor and this goes great in a crock-pot. My crock-pot is my best friend. It is great in the winter time for soups and stews and it is perfect for my night shifts. I can throw everything in when i get home and it is all ready by the time I get up for work in the evenings. Night shift months are like hibernation for me. I go out less, I spend less money and I don’t really do much of anything even on my days off.
Late Night Snack I know I said always pick a veggie for a snack but remember my weaknesses. Well here is another one: popcorn. It can be a healthy snack but I really think I could survive off it if I had to. When you were a kid, you know that awkward time after school when you’re starving because you probably didn’t eat enough lunch but your mom says it’s too early for dinner? I always ate a bag of lite butter or 94% fat free popcorn. It just became a habit. So I carry a bag of popcorn in my lunch bag every single day in case I get a bad late night craving.
These are all just simple ideas for snacks and easy meals. Meal prepping has become important in our society because we as human beings are either always on the go or too lazy to cook because you are so tired from always being on the go. If you get it all done at once when you are feeling motivational then you are rewarded when you are too tired to operate anything more than a microwave.