How to maintain your healthy eating habits and keep the peace

May 22, 2015 by Angela Orecchio

Despite what many yacht crew may think, you can work on a yacht and maintain healthy eating habits without making the chef or anyone else hate you.

It does take a bit of planning, patience and consistency but you can achieve your goals with these action steps.

  • During the hiring process, be up front with the chief who hires you and/or the captain about your diet. If you’re not new on board, then ask to schedule a time with the captain or chef, depending on what you think the right course of action should be.

If you’re speaking to the captain, ask permission to speak to the chef directly. If that is possible, read on to No. 2; if not, skip to No. 5. Keep a strong resolve and be patient.

  • Approach the chef with respect and understanding for the amount of work he/she does to feed and keep everyone happy on board. Everybody has an important job to do on the boat, and everyone deserves respect.

Approach the situation as if he/she will go above on and beyond for you, and make sure to show your appreciation for it in an authentic way.

  • Explain your reasons. Be open with the chef about your reasons for eating healthy. Almost everyone desires to be healthy or has had some health issues. If you are honest and connect with the chef about your reasoning, he/she is more likely to want to take care of you.
  • Be ready ahead of time for the question, “Well, what do you eat then?” If you are vague and your answer is “healthy foods”, you will most likely be in for a surprise come meal time. Everyone has a different idea about what healthy eating entails.

Be specific without being overly picky and make sure you include foods that will fill you up. This could be potatoes, rice, beans, lentils, etc. If you’re not specific, you could find yourself at the crew mess table hungry with your only option being salad and bread. If this happens enough, the chances of ruining your healthy habits are high.

If you want to stay healthy, you must eat enough whole foods that are filling to keep your cravings from taking over your mind.

  • Have a back-up plan. Buy some of your own foods and put them in a Tupperware in your cabin closet or drawer. This will save you during times when the chef is busy and doesn’t prepare something that is filling enough for you or anytime you’re in a pinch.

Foods such as low sodium pasta sauce, pre-cooked lentils, cans of beans, soups and other pre-cooked foods will get you through the toughest times. When the Chef asks why you’re eating your own food, be honest and diplomatic about it.

  • Be consistent. I can’t say it enough. If the Chef sees your unwavering consistent efforts to eat a certain way, you will have better results. If you pig out on junk food or announce that you’re having a cheat day, the Chef will think you’re not serious and not put in the extra — and it is extra — effort to make healthy food for you.
  • Be a good example. Show your enthusiasm and positivity toward eating healthy and be someone who others are inspired by. If you do not scare anyone away with a militant view of health, more than likely you will see some changes from other crew as well.

Stay strong and be sweetly persistent in your efforts.

Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from entries in her blog, The Yachtie Glow (, which offers tips for crew on how to be healthy, fit and happy on board. Comments are welcome at


Green papaya salad


1 whole clove garlic

2 fresh chillies

1 string bean cut to 2cm

50 grams green papaya, peeled, shredded

30 grams carrots, peeled, shredded

1 tsp palm sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp soybean sauce

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 tomato cut into 6 pieces

1 tsp toasted peanuts


Crush garlic and chilies in a mortar. Add string bean, crush roughly.

Add papaya and carrot, mix thoroughly.

Add palm sugar, soybean sauce, lime juice and tomato. Mix thoroughly.

Serve on a plate, garnish with peanuts.


About Angela Orecchio

Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from blog, Savvy Stewardess, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Yachting. Contact her through

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