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It's dark and I'm hungry

October 09, 2012 | Captain Hannah He

One of the facts of being on night shift is that I am forced to plan ahead for everything I eat, and it definitely shows me all the holes in my eating habits. Since everything In Georgia closes by 9 (except for that brand new Steak N Shake, which is open to 10!) I can no longer run to Taco Bell for a quick lunch to eat at my desk. Here is how meal planning works for me:

As I'm packing up my lunch box before heading out, I think healthy things every well-trained, health-conscious semi-athlete thinks: I need to pack two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit, a small protein bar to help keep me full, and atleast one entree-sized meal for the middle of my shift. Into my bag goes an apple, a bag of carrot sticks, a Special K Protein Bar, and a microwavable pasta meal. And a mountain dew, because that's the only thing with enough sugar and caffeine to keep me going.

Here's how my shift goes: I get in at 6, and am usually feeling fine, since I probably ate something when I woke up around 3 and snacked around 5 after working out. I eat carrots around 7:30, because those are healthy and good for you. I refill my water bottle atleast every other hour, so I know I'm drinking lots of water. Around 9 I'm feeling pretty hungry, so into the microwave goes my pasta. Around midnight I eat my apple, and realize the only thing left in my bag is that 90 calorie protein bar. And I'm pretty hungry. So what do you do at midnight in Georgia? You pay your NCO to go to the 24-hour shoppette for a box of Crunch N' Munch and eat the entire box before 6. Then you go home, pass out for 6 hours, and wake up starving.

Some people say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I remember this the next day as I'm packing up my apple and carrot sticks, and throw in an extra banana. Because surely that will keep me fuller......


1 Comment

  • John Jeffers
    10/10/2012 10:33 PM
    Yeah! Been there, done that! I think I have begun to get the hang of the night shift vis-a-vis food preparation: 1. Plan far ahead...like last weekend (or the last full day off) 2. Make two or three healthy casseroles. Seek recipes that give balanced nutrition. one serving + a drink= a meal 3. When packing for the shift, put a casserole serving in a microwaveable container. 4. Pack two pieces of fruit, one serving of vegetables (carrots, salad greens, cut up bell pepper, etc) 5. Pack one or two homemade protein bars (see below) Suggestions- Plenty of water during the shift Avoid sugar. It boost energy briefly, but the energy crash, cravings for more sugar, and the hunger pangs later are not worth it. Embrace caffeine. When steady and measured amounts are ingested, it is helpful. Regarding the homemade protein bars: making these is simple and affordable. All are no-bake. Doing yourself, you are guaranteed to know what is in it. Typical recipes include 1-minute Quaker Oats, dried fruit like raisins, dried cranberries, etc,, chopped nuts, honey, chocolate chips, + protein powder and powdered milk. Ideas for recipes come from reading good quality store- bought bars such as Cliff brand. Other ideas, amazingly, are available at www.bettycrocker.com This little secret has kept my body fit, my stomach satisfied, and my wallet filled with cash for better things, (instead of spent on $3 store-bought candy bars that claim they are protein bars.)

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