Since our tenants often stay here to work at night, we asked Sanja to recommend what they should eat when they get hungry at night.
Some specific professions that require night work and you have to adapt your metabolism to your working hours. You will not get up early to have traditional breakfast, but you will have normal breakfast at any time, when you wake up. Meals must be well balanced in order to avoid bouts of hunger. You should have 3 main meals and one or two snacks, it’s adjusted to every person. The idea is that you make your own schedule of meals, because when you balance your food and ensure constant food intake, you will not have any bouts of hunger, not even during the night. The diet should be primarily based on fresh fruit and vegetables. You should eat salads and protein meals as much as possible. Carbohydrates should be those from grains, they should be digested as slowly as possible and, thus, you don’t have glucose level going up and down, which makes you hungry. When you get hungry during the day or during the night, you reach for unhealthy snacks and sweets, which in turn leads to glucose level increase or decrease, making it an impossible circle.
When you have a well-balanced meal - salad, a piece of cheese (that’s what you can normally eat at night) or a boiled egg with salad, that’s what gives you prolonged satiety. The accent is on salad, because salads contain a lot of fibres, vitamins and minerals and you cannot swallow salad, but rather chew it. Thus you give your body enough time to realise that it has been fed. Salad is easily broken down and, therefore, gives you the feeling of satiety.
What should we eat first in the morning? Some people say “eat fruit in the morning”, some say that a big breakfast is important in the morning. Now we are confused by different information and opinions. In what opinion, what should we eat for breakfast?
In principle, it is individual. Somebody prefers light breakfast and later, after 3 to 3.5 hours a larger snack, while somebody else prefers large breakfast in the morning. That morning meal should be adjusted to your own body. A person who likes cereals can eat oatmeal previously soaked in water, to prevent swelling in intestines, with yoghurt and some frozen fruit, which can be an excellent option, as it gives you a long feeling of satiety. However, someone else can feel very hungry after eating fruit, and then I recommend something different, more traditional, e.g. a boiled egg, a piece of cheese, wholegrain bread or a boiled egg, tomato and wholegrain bread. Or cheese spread with seeds. All seeds are excellent and it’s up to your taste what seeds you will take. Whatever seed you choose, you will take omega 9 essential acids that are not made in your body, but they are necessary and they have good effects on good HDL cholesterol, which protects your body and blood vessels preventing creation of LDL cholesterol plaque. Also, seeds are digested for a long time and they provide fibres that are necessary to your body. Fibres are especially important for peristalsis and maintenance of proper body function, especially in those who have sedentary professions, i.e. those who do not have much physical activity. Then you drink less water, you don’t sweat, don’t burn calories, and you have to make yourself to drink water. Fats accumulate due to sedentary position, usually around the waist. There is less physical activity because shifts are long, mainly 10 hours at a computer. All these factors have negative impacts on peristalsis, which is a great problem….
Apart from working at night, some of our tenants work with foreign clients and sometimes start working very early in the morning due to different time zones. What is your suggestion, how should they wake up and activate their bodies?
When it comes to waking up, some people prefer coffee while others prefer tea. To wake up and activate in the morning, a brisk walk is excellent, especially when it gets cold. It is ideal if you have a pet. Have a green tea and go for a quick walk, and then eat your breakfast and your day will start in a different way.
This is also an introduction for my next question. Since people spend a lot of time at computers, what kind of physical activity do you suggest during short breaks?
Every physical activity is appreciated. I can only recommend something general, because it is not my field of expertise. We have an expert for physical activity, a recreational coach, with whom I cooperate and who recommends a special program with every personalised diet. If you tell him that you have time in the morning, he will suggest a special programme. If you say that you have a little time in the morning and a little time in the evening, you will also get a special programme. Programmes are not generally demanding, everybody chooses what he likes, according to his condition and depending on his needs and abilities. If a reduction diet is recommended, if it is a normal nutrition plan and you only wish to eat right, then only light or moderate intensity walks are recommended. You can also ride a bike or go swimming. Now gyms are available everywhere and there are swimming-pools in office buildings. It is not a bad idea to use such an opportunity during your 30 minute break and it matters a lot. At least, walking and stretching exercises can do a miracle.
What is your recommendation for a good daily menu? What do you eat?
As I have said, my recommendation for a good daily menu is a personalised breakfast - cereals, a boiled egg, cheese spread with seeds or a fermented milk product, which is good in the morning. After 3 and a half hour, you should eat a snack. It is also a matter of choice, it depends on what your body likes and how it reacts. Some people like to eat fruit. Fruit snack provides you with energy just at the time when sugar level drops and when your body becomes tired and needs energy. It is usually recommended that such snack should include fruit and yoghurt. However, some people are hungry after eating fruit, and then we modify the plan and recommend nuts, for example, roasted unsalted peanuts or something like that, 20 to 30 grams, again in a combination with a fermented milk product. If this is not suitable either, now you have a great selection of linseed bars or organic bars with seeds. One or two such bars are often sufficient for the first snack and you can add yoghurt. Everything depends on your total calorie intake during the day. Everything should be well organised and scheduled.
Lunch is 3 to 3 and a half hour later. You can bring your lunch from home, which is the best option. You don’t have to think what you will eat. In well equipped OfficeMe kitchens you have a fridge, and you can safely keep your food there. Your meal can consist of a piece of low fat cheese with salad or a salad with grilled meat, tuna in brine with a salad. Already prepared salads are now available in supermarkets. It is enough to prepare a dressing at home and add it to the salad. For example, some apple cider vinegar and olive oil with some seeds. you can order grilled meat and add it to those salads, and that’s it.
You can eat your afternoon snack when you get tired before going home. On your way home you can have a fruit or, if you stay at work, you can order a smaller salad again. Thus you will not be too hungry for dinner or overeat later when you come home.
Generally, everything is about to eat before you become too hungry: meals should be small and frequent, and your body should be engaged in digesting all day because of a large amount of fibres. Thus you have enough energy for the whole day and you are not hungry. It is important to prevent feeling very hungry, because your sugar level will fall down, which usually results in overeating. Until you realise that you are sated, you have already eaten too much.
Dinner should include some grilled meat with salad. Salad is obligatory. It depends on what you like. For example, you can eat some fish prepared with vegetables in a foil, it is easily prepared. All these meals can be quickly prepared in 15 minutes. Or, if you prefer a traditional broth, e.g. a cabbage soup or broth, you can make it one day earlier or during the weekend, and it can be there for you when you come home.
Is it better to have a protein meal in the evening?
In principle, yes, because it does not overload your digestive system. Generally, you can divide it into two parts, so you can have one part for lunch and the other for dinner. You should eat less carbs in the evening, or choose those from fruit and vegetables. You certainly get these carbs from salad. Somebody will have grilled vegetables, which is also a source of carbohydrates. Thus, you do not exclude carbohydrates, but use what’s best of them.
Similarly, if you prefer you can have some wholegrain pasta with salad for lunch.
When somebody decides to come to see you, is there any preparation required for the appointment?
In principle, for a proper examination your blood count is required. What we look for is general blood count. Also, we need your lipid profile and glucose level. Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides should be checked. Even when some results are not all right, there are situations that can be resolved only by changing your diet. A large number of our clients were on the edge of taking some medication. By correct nutrition, by excluding some food from their diet and with well-balanced meals, they solved their problem without the need to take medication. For example, drugs taken to reduce cholesterol level are very specific, and they have to be taken permanently. Your body gets used to them and you cannot stop using them. They can be taken every second evening, for example. The body loses its ability to metabolise that cholesterol and it waits for the drugs to clean blood vessels. In such cases prevention is better. Especially with people with sedentary professions, no physical activity, but with a lot of exhaustion and stress, which are additional factors for cholesterol increase.
How does the examination look like?
On two medical scales we measure your body composition, waistline, neckline… When we get the results, we analyse and interpret them. We can see the composition of your body, the amount of fat, muscle mass, visceral fat percentage. Visceral fat is the fat between our internal organs, which is the biggest problem nowadays. It pressurises your internal organs and later represents a risk for the development of different cardiovascular problems. We can see how well your body is hydrated, the weight of your bones, i.e. percentage of bone tissue. All these elements are very important and we can see whether and what should be changed in your diet. Then, in a conversation with a client, we learn about his or her daily duties and daily routine. We talk about his or her concerns, what should be changed, and then we make a two-week menu or a month menu, depending on the goal: for example, to increase muscle mass or reduce fat amount. Then we make a programme with a coach. Every diet plan goes along with a physical activity plan, which is not demanding and is always personalised. No one will force you to run, especially if you are overweight. All physical activities are simple and all menus are simple and easy to prepare and take. So, there are no excuses.
If a person has an additional problem, for example a problem with the thyroid gland or a hormonal disorder, he or she should bring the most recent endocrinological findings with hormone levels or report any therapy taken for a chronic condition.