Make healthy choices when stocking up onboard

Dec 12, 2016 by Melissa McMahon

When it comes to provisioning, some yachties love it, some yachties are not too keen about it. Everyone needs to eat onboard, and as humans we require many products to live our healthy clean lifestyles.

How different are the rules for provisioning on each boat? Does the yacht have a budget? Are crew members allowed to get their preferred brand of product? Does the crew decide what snacks to get?

The rules sometimes change when it comes to provisioning. On a yacht I was on, we had a few different chief stews. The first didn’t allow the crew to get their favorite brands because she bought combo packs of whatever was on sale at that moment. She thought it would save the yacht money, but in the end is it really worth doing if those products sit in crew storage unwanted and not used? We also can’t expect for the yacht to pay for our $30 shampoo. On a yacht with 20 crew members, it is hard to give everyone their preferred brand.

Our second chief stew bought products crew members wanted because she knew it makes the crew happy, even if it is a little special bar of soap or someone’s go-to face wash. Seeing products piled up in the crew storage and unused was ineffective to her. With inventory lists, she was able to stay under budget.

When it came to food such as snacks and instant breakfasts, everyone ate whatever was put out in the containers. As the months went by, not everyone was happy with the junk food that was put out or a giant candy bowl made by Melissa for all to see when they first walked into the crew mess. People started to gain weight and others were sick of the same old foods.

Provisioning for a yacht. PHOTO/MELISSA MCMAHON

A few of us were pushing for a healthier snack list that all would agree on but never seemed to come through. Some said to put curtains over the shelves because we see it, we eat it. Crew members don’t need to eat Doritos or Goldfish or Sour Patch kids. We crave it but in the end our health is important. We work in an industry where everything is on a time limit, and stress levels become high, which can lead to emotional eating.

Here’s a fast and healthy breakfast I swear by: Oatmeal and a favorite protein powder. I mix about a half a scoop of vanilla protein powder in my oatmeal every morning, and it fills me for a while.

Provisioning doesn’t have to be as bad as some people say it is. Stay organized and make a plan of what to get and who to get it for.  Come up with lists of healthy snacks everyone agrees upon. Save the Doritos and other junk food for days off or for a midnight snack.

During work hours, healthy snacks give yacht crew better energy, allowing us all to provide top-notch service.

Melissa McMahon is a stew from Long Island, N.Y. (www.longislandmermaid.com). Comments are welcome at editor@the-triton.com.

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