Healthy meals for shift workers

YOUR SAY: HFG reader Anna writes…

“I am one of many people in New Zealand that do shift work. As a paramedic, I work 12-hour days, 12-hour nights, two days, two nights, four days on, four days off. Regular mealtimes at work don’t exist – we eat when we can, whether we are hungry or not because we never know when we are going to get breaks. We can’t prepare meals at work as there is no time. As a result, meals are brought from home and reheated or eaten cold. Because of the high energy demand and high stress of the job, succumbing to chips and chocolate is far too easy – not to mention that the only food places open at 3am are fast-food restaurants.

Health food decisions are hard at the best of times let alone when it’s been an incredibly stressful day and we’re greatly sleep deprived. On behalf of shift workers nationwide, I would really appreciate some advice on meals and snacks that are healthy, easy-to-prepare and most of all, taste great.

–  Anna, via handwritten letter

HFG responds

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy and important schedule, Anna, to write to us. We realise just how difficult it must be for you as a paramedic to eat healthily around your work demands, and we have investigated eating options for shift workers in previous Healthy Food Guide issues. For starters, read our article How to cope with shift work. Then check out Eating well at work, which covers food options for shift workers. You may also find our We rate takeaways: The best and the worst feature helpful, where we investigate the healthier meal choices from takeaway establishments including fast-food restaurants and petrol stations. Keep a look out for (past and) future issues which feature more articles and recipes addressing the healthy eating needs of those who are time-poor.

Team HFG


‘Your say’ letters are written by external correspondents. The opinions expressed in these letters are solely those of the correspondents, not of Healthy Food Guide, and no liability is accepted by Healthy Life Media Ltd for any information contained therein. As always, any person with health issues or medical concerns should first take advice from a health professional. Healthy Life Media Ltd reserves the right to reply to, edit, abridge or decline letters without explanation.

First published: Jul 2012

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