How to Eat Healthy as a Restaurant Worker

Restaurants aren’t exactly health clubs. Having odd hours, working cleaning shifts, constantly standing on your feet, exposure to chemicals, and having little break time to actually eat a meal are some factors that can affect the health of restaurant workers. Stress levels and the nonstop action of the industry often compound these factors. So, how can restaurant workers eat healthy while on shift? Here are a few tips.

Carefully plan family meals

Just because your restaurant offers you a free meal for your shift doesn’t mean you need to eat fried chicken and mashed potatoes every chance you get. Focusing on eating nutrient-rich, low calorie options can help you sustain energy for working long and busy shifts. Dishes with a lot of red meat or animal products can make you sluggish. Keep your employee meals simple. Look for salads, or a dish full of fruits and vegetables.

Drink lots of water

Drinking water not only re-hydrates your body, but it can also helps you eat less. There is no bad time to drink it either. Foods with high water content such as soups, fruits, and veggies have the same effect. If there are no healthy food options at your restaurant’s family meal, eat as many of the aforementioned foods before your shift. This will help curb your appetite and give you energy to get through the shift.

Say no to soda

Sometimes we need an extra boost of energy when working a shift, or double. It’s completely understandable. But, going for soda over tea or coffee can have adverse side effects. The caffeine in a can of soda will give you a short boost, but leave you feeling more tired once it wears off. Because restaurant workers are constantly moving, the caffeine can wear off even quicker than normal. Not only that, but soda is full of empty sugar calories and sodium. Both of which can increase fat cells in the body and can lead to health risks in the future.

Ask for smaller portions

Large portions can be a problem for many reasons. Some restaurants use large plates to give the illusion of larger portions. This trick has been scientifically proven to make customers eat more. Unfortunately, it will also have the same effect on an unsuspecting staff member as well. If you are serving yourself family meal find a smaller plate or be cognizant of how much food you are actually consuming.  

There are myriad benefits to eating healthy no matter what industry you work in. But, for restaurant employees it can be the difference between having a great shift and feeling sluggish. Eating healthy also benefits restaurant owners because it puts employees in a good position to handle the rigors of restaurant work. Harvard Business Review suggests that having healthy options on your menu can be a way for employers to attract and retain employees. As the old adage goes, “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”


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