Work a Swing Shift? 4 Tips for Eating Lunch at Odd Hours

If you have a regular 9 to 5 office job, you probably take a lunch break at a regular lunch hour. By that I mean during the normal accepted hours for lunch — say, 11am to 1pm. But if you're one of the many who work a shift that's earlier or a little later, you probably don't really take lunch at lunch. A mixed-up work schedule can play havoc with dinner plans and appetite, so here are a few tips for making sure you eat a good lunch — whatever time of day it is.

1. There's Nothing Wrong With Snacking: If you don't have a lunch hour when you feel like you should really be eating lunch (say 3pm or 10am) just try snacking. Although it sounds like added calories, try eating protein-packed snacks to tide you over, and eat dinner at home or with friends during a normal hour without ordering something small since you've eaten recently.

2. Don't Skip: 9 times out of 10, thinking you can skip your meal to eat with other family members at a different time doesn't work out. You might succeed in your quest, but hunger pains and fuzzy thoughts might ensue. It's easy to think you'll just drink a soda or a cup of coffee, but eat something, anything, even just a simple egg to help keep you going.

3. Who Cares? All that really matters is that you eat when you're hungry, so eat on the schedule you work. No one says lunch as to be between 11 and 1, just the restaurant industry (and tradition).

4. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule: Sometimes it's easier to justify eating lunch at 10am if you get up earlier. Instead of hitting the gym after work, try before. If you're a late lunch eater, try staying up late and working on the opposite end of things. It can help your metabolism know what to expect each day and keep you on track between meals.

Do you have a trick or tip for eating lunch at an unusual hour? Do you eat a whole meal? Snack on something small? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: How To Make Your Own Lunch Box Ice Packs

(Image: Flickr member dlofink licensed for use by Creative Commons)

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