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Shift Work


Silver Member
Does anyone else struggle? Or have any tips? I do 13.5hr days and sometimes longer with paperwork and find there's only so much I can do with food And when I leave at about 9pm I have a 60mile drive and end up eating when I get in as I'm starving. Before dieting it was takeaways for quickness etc help pls ! X
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Gold Member
Hi there, I don't do shift work but if I have a busy day at work I can sometimes skip my lunch which makes me really hungry by the time I leave work at 5pm. I have started to make sure I have fruit ready chopped in the fridge, tubs of cottage cheese and vegetable sticks, yoghurts and packets of meats so that if I really need to I can snack whilst I'm waiting for my tea to cook. Could you do some batch cooking so that you can come home and just pop something in the microwave?


Silver Member
Hi clover, I used to work shifts when I did SW last time, I used to prepare dinners on my days off so that it was just a case of heating up a bolognaise sauce and boiling some pasta or stir fry was always a good go to because its ready in 15 mins with plenty of superfree to fill you up. Stuff like chicken fajita is really quick in a wok and fab with a sweet potato jacket instead of wraps if you are using syns on something else.


Silver Member
long shifts are a killer and then put your commuting time on top, that's tough.

How many days a week do you work? I work shift too, I have my breakfast before I leave in the morning, usually an omelette or something, if you find it difficult to eat your full breakfast try having a banana on your way to work then have a proper breakfast later on.
Lunch I normally take a salad with baked pot or scan bran and laughing cow lights or something similar with fruit and yoghurt for afters,
hi fi bar mid afternoon
then have a hot meal for my next break - left overs from the night before, or a tin of ravioli or beans, something like that.

Put the slow cooker on before you leave in the morning with your dinner in so you've got something ready to eat when you get in. I don't do batch cooking, can't get my head round it lol.

So usually if I'm at work I'll have 4 meals a day plus snacks.

Planning and preparation is the key for me.

sometimes meals get boring and repetitive but I only work 3 days a week so its not so bad for me.

Good luck xx


Full Member
I was going to mention the slow cooker, it'd be great to make yourself a stew, that you can freeze, bologna she, chilli. Make a large batch of a Ragu sauce, separate into portions for each meal then you can have bolognaise one night, add some chilli powder and kidney beans another night for a chilli, any leftover on your day off you can make into a lasagne or just have the sauce with some pasta/jacket potato etc.

Veg soup is also great to make up in a large batch and freeze or keep in fridge. I use this recipe:
2xcans of tomatoes (sometimes use ones with chilli in)
2xlarge carrots diced
1 courgette diced
red,green and yellow pepper diced
butternut squash/parsnip/swede diced
2xgarlic cloves
handful of red split peas
tin of green lentils
tin of mixed bean salad (I use one in spicy tomato sauce)
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
Mixed hherbs
chilli flakes/chilli powder 1teaspoon(add more to your liking)
1/2 pint of veg stock (add more for thinner soup)
add all to pot bring to boil then simmer for at least an hour. Or put in slow cooker on low for 6-8hours
It's delicious :)


Silver Member
Also, there are some canned things that don't take long to heat up.
M&S lean steak is free, lovely on a jp, asda veg chilli is free, mix with batchelors rice and a salad, also asda meat free bolongese.
I make a SW quiche and keep in the fridge for snacking on. xx


Silver Member
Thankyou you guys this is brilliant! I really need to get into the habit of batch cooking and meal planning, I always think If I batch cook I WIll just keep eating and eating :/ I often cook the night before and extra for my lunch next day. Soup sounds delicious!
I do 3-4days a week, just Ned to organise myself Abit more with food lol instead of grab and go! Do u have breakfast before u start (this would be 5am for me, too early really) or wait until Ur morning break?
So hard when Ur on Ur feet all day.u need so much food to keep u going. Always a bottle of water on the desk otherwise il keel over!! Wore a pedometer the other day and ended shift had walked 5.6miles!
Thankyou again, Ur advice is brilliant.xxx

Best go bed now as I have t be up at 4.15am! Urgh! Xxx


Gold Member
I too work shifts and find that by the time I get home I don't want to eat a heavy meal or cook. On work days I take fresh fruit and yogurt for morning break with a hifi light bar using my syns. I have my main meal of the day at lunch time eg pasta bake, casserole and rice. When I get in from work I have magic porridge that I've made the night before with fruit. If I'm still hungry I make lettuce wraps with sliced ham.


Gold Member
I'm a shift worker here - some weeks I do 80 hours, some 22.5. So my eating varies a lot depending on what I'm working and at what time (earlies, lates or long days from 7am til 10pm)

I batch cook and have a freezer full of chilli, soup, curry etc that I can just grab and put in the microwave/oven. I keep pot shots/fat free super noodles with frozen stir fry veg lying about for quick meals or snacks, as well as saving my healthy extras and syns on difficult days for snack attacks at work where I don't always have access to lSW friendly food. I found it took me months to figure out what worked for me, so its worth experimenting. Meal times at work are so different from when I'm at home so I tend to eat 2 meals if I'm on a late (late big cooked breakfast at midday) then dinner at work at 5 (!!!! I usually have dinner about 8-9) but when on an early ill have 4 smaller meals as I'm up much earlier than usual.


Gold Member
I'm currently on a night shift as I reply! Lol.

What do you have access to in terms of microwave/fridge etc? When I work 14hr days I usually have cereal (B) for breakfast and a piece of fruit, lunch would be a cold pasta salad with chicken and tea is usually leftovers or a packet of pasta n sauce/ JP and beans. I have access to a fridge and microwave and kettle so I try and have one hot meal. Also I always have an emergency mugshot to hand!
If I like yogurt I'd take a couple of muller lights to graze on, I tend to take a big fruit salad to munch on.
If I'm working that much I also shove a few syns in there as I head to bed when I get home, so a bag of velvet crunch and a curly wurly is always yummy!
The thing that's helped me most has to cook in advance. So if I know I've got a 14hr day tomorrow I'd have cooked a bit extra tea so I can take that and warm it up.
Hope this helps!


Full Member
I'm a coach driver so if I go away for the day it can be hard as no access to microwave etc. I find on journeys like that, Ryvita and a tub of philly works well. sometimes I take salad but tbh I can't really be bothered. I'll often take a savoury phily and the chocolate one so I'll have a choc philly one for 'pudding' lol. I take plenty of fruit and a flask of tea too so I'm not tempted with anything. If I'm driving a particularly long way i find a 'need' to keep my body sugar up and will often have an extra healthy b. its not ideal but a hifi is better for me than a bar of cadburys! it doesn't seem to affect my weight loss as such either.
Apart from that, I sometimes syn a 'normal' sandwich if I know i'm having a low syn tea. I get my hubby to prepare tea for when I get in. Hard boiled eggs are good for if you are peckish.
When not driving I sometimes take a tin of beans to stick in the microwave. filling and free! Mug shots are ok I suppose.


Silver Member
That's great Thankyou all so much!!
I have access to a kettle, fridge and microwave so it's not too bad, I finish placement in 2weeks so the real dilemma starts when im at uni 9-6 with no access to fridge kettle or microwave.. Not sure what ill do then. a salad will end up warm lunch time bleugh! U must have this problem muffinandsam! X

On shift im having weetabix before I leave at 5.30am, then a Yogurt and coffee at 11ish if I get time, lunch of either leftovers or a last minute healthier micro meal. With fruit salad for afters if im organised enough to Chop it all up night before, then on my 7pm break I have been taking soup. And feeling alot better for it. As usually id just have a banana which is like skipping a meal really which is prob why I was feeling so crap. Then when I get home about 10.30 il have a cup of tea and a free or low syn snack.

Worried about what to take when im at uni now!

Does this sound ok? Xx
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Silver Member
For when you go to Uni - either a flask (for soup) or a food flask for anything else. If you can get jacket spuds from the Uni canteen, you can always take chilli/curry/ratatouille/tuna with mayo and sweetcorn etc and just buy the spud (with no topping). Ask at the canteen about providing boiling water (if you like mugshots) - they may charge you (because they're providing the electricity to boil the water and are missing out on you buying a meal) but it might just be another stand-by option.


Silver Member
I was going to suggest a lunchbox with ice pack in it, thats what I use for lunch when I'm at uni, I've got on the you can put salad in bottom, then the ice pack then it has 2 little pots for the top which I put yoghurt/fruit in. Its ideal and keeps everything at a good temperature til lunchtime x


Hello :) I work long 12hr days and have found that to be able to do SW effectively, I have to be organised with my food. I plan what I'm going to have and have an evening where I prepare and cook foods to store/ready for the next set of shifts. This helps me to be organised and stick to the plan x


I work shift work too, very hard to get to grips with organising my meals. Plus trying to stay away from all the sweet things hanging around the staff canteen!! At the moment trying to stock up my freezer!