3 Tips for Chefs to Clean Up Their Cooking

27 January 2015 By Hillary Hoffower

In last week’s “8 Tips toCleaning Up Your Diet On Board”, we tackled how crew can eat healthy despitethe challenges of a busy work day, a set menu and the temptation of rich foods.However, chefs can do a little something of their own to make healthy eatingfor crew — and themselves — that much easier.

“We love chefs — they are the most important people on boardthe boat,” says Katie Handyside, a personal trainer, sports nutritionist andhealth and body coach who holds a Master of Nutrition from the Cory HollyInstitute in Vancouver. “Chefs who look after the crew are an [asset] to theboat, and as a chef, the crew will appreciate you so much more if you send themnutritious, healthy food.”

So, chefs, team up with your crew and make a plan for cleaningup meals to ensure a happy and healthy yacht. These three tips are not only funand easy to experiment with, but they also offer great health benefits without meaningdrastic changes to your cooking.

Add it Up

The good news is that you can actually expand your cookingregimen without giving anything up— there’s no need to hold back on yourfavorite ingredients or stop cooking your signature dish. In this case, addingmore is less.

Amy Bourke, a chef on M/Y Northern Star with a certificate in Health Coachingthrough the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, suggests adding in moreleafy greens, which she calls “true super foods packed with vitamins, mineralsand antioxidants,” by experimenting with new ways to incorporate them into yourmeals.

“For example, add broccoli and spinach to pies, pasta bakesand lasagna, chop kale and marinate in a little oil and lemon juice for adelicious salad or add greens to a soup just before serving,” she advises.

But nothing completes some leafy greens like clean proteins.Handyside recommends adding eggs, fish or meat with some fresh vegetables andsweet potatoes, yams, quinoa or rice for more energy and to fill up creweasily.

“Poor quality food makes the crew or many of the crew feelbad, irritable, low on energy, tired, unmotivated and [stops them from] performingas well as they could be,” she says. “This is very short-sighted [as] the creware the heart of the boat. Feeding the crew should be as important as the finedining for the guests.”

There’s Always aSubstitute

Whole grains, such as quinoa, faro, brown rice andbuckwheat, provide for a more nutritious option and can be used instead of whiterice, pasta and potatoes, says Bourke. She also suggests using naturalsweeteners, such as maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or date syrup, which arehealthy replacements and offer more nutritional benefits than refined sugar.

The takeaway? There’s almost always a healthier option thatcan replace some of the not-so-good-for-you foods — you just have to look forit.

Push it to the Side

When it comes to cleaning up one’s diet on board, it’s allabout having options. A great way to do this is by offering certain ingredientson the side so crew can regulate how much they want if they even want it atall.

Bourke suggests serving dressings and sauces, which can beheavy in calories, on the side. “By allowing crew to dress and add sauce totheir own meals, they have more control over what they’re putting into theirbodies.”

While offering more unhealthy ingredients on the sideassists crew with portion control, you can also present them with a side ofhealthy choices. Don’t hold back on the fresh herbs, says Bourke, who oftenserves bowls of herbs on the side and garnishes most of her dishes with them. “Herbsare a wonderful and diverse way to flavor anything from salads to soups to meatdishes, and they have incredible health benefits,” she adds.

Remember, making healthier meals doesn’t have to bedifficult or result in an extreme change to your cooking. Plus, your crew willthank you. As Handyside puts it, “This does not have to cost a lot, and surelyin the long term having crew that feel good about themselves means that theyare less likely to get tired and cranky and more likely to be happier onboard.”

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