We are all familiar with the well known saying, ‘you are what you eat’ – and in this industry, it’s even more relevant. Working in hospitality, it’s not a secret that the amount of hours we work daily isn’t exactly conducive to a well-balanced diet: I’m sure I’m not the only one who has existed on ‘meals’ such as sandwiches, a handful of crisps or nuts when I’ve been super busy.
Personally speaking, I was actually one of the worst examples of eating convenient junk food until I turned 30 a few years ago. I’d regularly eat almost nothing all day only to polish off a huge meal at stupid o’clock? The truth is when you are busy the only thing that you want is just to grab a handful of food here and there to keep you going so you can crack on and smash it; it’s only after a crazy shift that you have time to acknowledge the funny noises your stomach is making – and that’s when we reach for the big greasy burger or takeaway pizza.
However, when I hit 30 I started to realise that my personal health was more important than anything else, and that and if you don’t look after yourself, you’re just not going to be able to perform to the best of your ability.
So slowly slowly I started to change a few things. At the grand old age of 31 and after years of nagging from my wife, I introduced breakfast to my life and I started making a conscious effort to eat more greens and fruits (God bless the NutriBullet). Then I gave up my favourite go-to energy drink, Coca Cola, as well as sugar and junk food, instead squeezing two more healthy meals into my daily routine. As a result, I started seeing a big difference not only in my performance behind the bar, but in the rest of my day-to-day life as well.
I also made a conscious effort to stay properly hydrated (and no, shots don’t count here, sorry). According to NAM (The National Academy of Medicine) the total daily water intake for an average adult male should be 3.7 litres and 2.7 litres for the average adult female, including the water you get from food intake as well. Now I don’t know about you, but my daily water consumption was seriously lacking up against those figures – and I’m still having to make a conscious effort to keep up fluids throughout the day, especially as the festive season creeps up and it’s tempting to fall back on Red Bull and coffee to keep you going.
So, what’s the moral of the story here? There will be always a good excuse to convince ourselves that we didn’t have enough time to make breakfast or to cook a fresh lunch or at least have a proper break for a meal during a shift – but by making a few changes, bit by bit, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to eat a healthier, more-balanced diet. So before you head off to your next shift, make sure you include a good meal into your prep because lets face it, no one wants to see their bartender faint behind the bar – who the hell would make the drinks?!