How to combine diet with work shifts
Starting to follow a diet, choosing to eat in a balanced way, is never easy: it implies an effort to change one’s life habits. If in “normal” conditions it is possible to find the right motivations, it becomes more tiring for those who do not have regular work shifts or work at different times from others.
Those who have an office job can organize themselves by bringing lunch from home or carefully choosing the meals to be eaten in the canteen or bar. But what if you work on completely busted schedules?
The flexibility of the Melarossa diet
One of the main problems of those who follow a diet and, at the same time, lead a particular lifestyle due to their work rhythms, is that of “rigidity” in the composition of meals. This is one of the points that distinguish Melarossa, a Mediterranean diet built on the principle of the food pyramid, from other types of diets. Flexibility.
If you can’t make meals at home, you can always go on the sandwich diet. And, if you have problems faithfully following recipes and alternating meals, the ABC of substitutions will help you. Changing your program is therefore easier. This allows not only to adapt the diet to the rhythms of life but also to avoid that sense of “boredom of taste” that often occurs when following a monotonous diet. There are no rules that require you to eat at certain times. The important thing is to always distribute the food throughout the entire wake, to never go hungry, and ensure all the nutrients the body needs. The rule of 5 meals, in fact, must be maintained in any case: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks, all “translated” on the times of one’s life.
Reconciling diet and work shifts: special cases
A trained and passionate staff like that of Melarossa is always attentive to requests for special difficulties or needs. It often happens with those who work at particular times or on shifts that vary. A sense of hunger busted and little appetite, they alternate with moments of blind hunger and desire to eat anything that happens within reach. But, if you stick to your goals, following a balanced diet in these cases can be easier than you think.
Here are some types of workers who have special needs and the solutions of our expert, Luca Piretta, to the various problems:
1 – Work from dawn, taking off in the middle of the day
(e.g. baristas, operators of the agri-food markets, employed in various types of structures)
We could call them larks. They wake up very early, often do not eat breakfast, and develop a lot of hunger during the shift. In these cases, it is very important to avoid getting hungry at the end of the shift. Those who can have breakfast can eat something light, like 2 rusks or 2 crackers with a juice and a coffee. To then provide a snack around 7 as a slice of light dessert or a simple croissant. It is also possible to eat a toast: in this case, however, it is better to avoid bread for lunch.
If work requires significant energy expenditure and a more substantial breakfast is needed, it is possible to enrich it by moving some foods, for example, bread or fruit, from other meals of the day. In general, the diet can be freely integrated with uncooked raw vegetables to munch on before or after a snack. Lunch after the shift must be light, especially if a nap is provided immediately afterward.
2 – Work from mid-afternoon, taking off in the middle of the night
(e.g. waiters, squares/cooks, waste management staff, doctors employed in the emergency room)
The main problem in this category is dinner! Dining before the shift can lead to sudden hunger attacks during the night. Once the shift is over, temptation falls. It is not easy, especially at certain times, to find something to eat that is not a pile of unnecessary calories to feed the body.
Also, in this case, the 5 meals system must be translated. You can prepare a light dinner in the mid-afternoon, based on pasta or brown rice seasoned with legumes or vegetables, or based on fish, in order to have sufficient energy but not to weigh down. At the same time, a snack must be provided to bring and eat in the middle of the shift. Here are some examples: fresh vegetables (fennel, carrots, etc.), seeds to munch on, fresh fruit, whole wheat crackers, yogurt. The goal is not to go hungry at the end of the shift. In this way, another light snack can be provided before going to sleep. Finally, it is important to wake up to have a hearty breakfast in the middle (or late) morning.
3 – Work all night, completely reversing the rhythms
(e.g. workers, workers in night shops or in motorway restaurants)
They are the so-called “owls”, people who have to work all night and, for most of the day, have to rest. Their rhythms are completely reversed. Main meals should be consumed during business hours, instead of creating light and digestible snack breaks during the day.
Meals in this category could be organized as follows. A light meal before the shift (19-20 hours) to give the necessary energy to the body but without weighing it down. For example pasta or brown rice with fresh tomato or legumes, combined with a side dish of cooked or raw vegetables and whole wheat bread. Alternatively, a second course like baked fish or legumes, which satiate without weighing it down. The second meal is the night meal, at about midnight. A soup or a velvety one if it is winter. Otherwise, if you can’t cook or eat it during the shift, you can expect a meal that is little more than a snack. For example, 60 g of ham or bresaola with 40 g of bread and fruit (or a juice) or a salad with 1 boiled egg and 120 g of tuna.
Towards 4-5 in the morning, a night snack (4-5 hours) must be provided, followed by a breakfast at the end of the shift (7 hours). It is good that this is light, without tea, coffee, or other types of exciters that can hinder rest after work. Finally, it is necessary to fix lunch at 2.00 pm Better to wake up and have a meal, which could be a second with a side dish.
4 – Work on shifts that always vary
(e.g. doctors & nurses, workers, gastronomy departments and warehouse workers)
It is perhaps the most complex category. Shifts that determine a continuous variation in the rhythms of life and meals. In this case, it is the sandwich diet that meets you. By preparing in advance some handy sandwiches to take to work, alternating them with regular meals based on cereals, fresh vegetables, legumes, and fruit. Just the fruit can become the protagonist of the daytime snacks, especially those made before going to rest. It will satisfy youTags: combine diet, shifts