Late-Shift Brekky – Banana Pancakes Topped with Peanut Butter & Raspberries!

Late shifts are undeniably the perfect opportunity to disconnect the alarm clock and have a bit of a sleep-in. OK, let’s face it. Anything after 4 am is classified as a sleep-in if you work 24/7, so when you actually get to see the sunrise (and you’re not at work) – that gets really exciting!

However, one of the downsides of a late-shift, especially if you’re starting your shift around midday, is that it can mean missing out on lunch, or having a really late lunch where you become so famished that you inhale anything in sight!

I’m talking the chips, burgers, donuts, choccy bars – you name it as I’m sure you can relate.

So what’s the best strategy to overcome those mid-afternoon munchies?

By delaying your breakfast.

Because delaying your breakfast is going to provide you with two benefits:

  1. It lengthens the time that your digestive system can rest and repair.
  2. It helps to reduce the time that you may be feeling hungry, soon after starting your shift.

Let’s talk about the first one – the digestive system.

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Breakfast Nutrition:

Chia Pot with Mango, Crushed Walnuts and Maple Syrup.

It was brekky on the deck this morning to soak up the winter warming rays of sunshine, before heading off to my local organic farmers markets.

These little chia pots are great for breakfast (or anytime really), as chia seeds are loaded with fibre, protein, healthy omega-3 fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.

They also contain high amounts of antioxidants plus certain micronutrients including zinc, potassium, vitamins B1, B2 and B3.

From a shift work nutrition perspective, what I absolutely love about these tiny little black seeds is they help to provide sustained energy which is super important when you’re faced with ongoing tiredness as a result of working 24/7.

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Weight Loss In Shift Work:

Why Is It So Hard To Achieve?

Lose weight concept with person on a scale measuring kilograms

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, weight loss would have to top the charts hands down – every single year, every single time.

But when you’re a shift worker – achieving this goal can become even harder to reach.

In fact you probably go to bed at night (or the day, depending on your shift), wondering if you’re ever going to get back to that svelt figure that you once had when you were 16 years of age.

OK, if that’s what you’re aiming for then we may need to readjust your goals a little!

However if you’re trying to lose weight around working crazy and irregular hours, it can often feel as though it’s one step forward, two steps back.

Sounding familiar?

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard?

Well there are a number of reasons why but in a nutshell, whenever we’re sleep deprived our body essentially becomes biologically stressed (*).

Yep that’s right.

Our body is stressed even before we’ve walked through the front door and started our shift! (more…)

Stuck for Breakfast Ideas? Try This Super Fast and Nutritious Quinoa Porridge!

breakfastAs a student of Nutritional Medicine, I’ve begun to do some Clinical Observation at University in the last few weeks which has been fabulous. It certainly beats sitting in a classroom and just going through a bunch of power point slides!

However I must admit I’ve been a little surprised at the number of clients who seem to skip breakfast because they don’t have time. Breakfast is so important (whatever… the time of day or night that is for you), because it powers you up for the day ahead.

Of course if you are on night shift, then eating a light meal before you jump into bed would be a much better option to help ease the stress on your digestive system which will in turn, help to enhance your sleep.

But if you are on a day shift, then you really need to be powering yourself up with energising, nourishing foods to prevent you from falling into a fatigue-induced slump mid-morning.

This was my Gluten-Free Quinoa Porridge this morning, topped with slices of Apple, Almonds, Sultanas, Maple Syrup, Greek Yoghurt and Cinnamon!

Quinoa is packed with protein which is great for energy; its also a great source of fatty acids such as oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat which is great for the heart), along with alpha-linolenic acid or ALA which is an omega-3 fatty acid which helps to reduce inflammation – perfect for a sensitive shift work bowel which may be prone to digestive complaints.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups organic quinoa
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or grated apples
  • 3 heaped spoons of Greek yoghurt
  • Maple syrup (a drizzle) Cinnamon
  • A handful of sultanas
  • A handful of almonds

Method

Rinse quinoa through filtered water until water runs clear.  This is super important as it removes the natural coating – saponin (a naturally occurring detergent found in plants), which can make it taste bitter so don’t omit this step!  Combine quinoa and water in a pot and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add apples, cinnamon, sultanas and almonds.  Serve topped with Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

For variations – serve with your favourite choice of milk (I love the nutty flavour of almond milk), berries, banana, walnuts, pecans or stewed fruits.

Source:  Recipe inspired and adapted from Gluten Free Breakfast Ideas – Client Handout (Endeavour College of Natural Health)

Carrot Cake For Breakfast? You Bet!

Stuck for brekky ideas? Well you might like to try this nourishing Carrot Cake “Bircher-In-A-Jar” style breakfast – a recipe which I’ve adapted from well renowned Nutritionist Lola Berry’s 20/20 Diet Cookbook. Lola completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine from Endeavour College a few years ago (the same degree and campus) where I’m also studying. Her recipes are also a bit funky which I love :-).

This porridge / bircher style brekky is made up of Quinoa which is high in protein and very nutritious – rich in vitamins and minerals.

What I really like about this breakfast is that it’s very filling so helps to sustain you through even the longest of shifts!

It’s important to note that the outer layers of the Quinoa grain contain a toxic phytochemical called saponin, which can irritate intestines, so it’s important to make sure you rinse the grain before cooking.

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa flakes
2 cups almond milk
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup sultanas
4 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
extra sultanas to serve
extra cinnamon to serve

Method
Place the quinoa flakes and almond milk in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir to combine. Add the carrot, dried fruit, spices and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thick and porridgey. Keep stirring to avoid sticking to pan.

Serve topped with walnuts, Greek yoghurt and cinnamon.

This is great to have hot but I love taking it into work in a jar with a dollop of Greek yoghurt!