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Culinary Waves: Fuel crew with snacks of healthy carbs, protein

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Culinary Waves: by Chef Mary Beth Lawton Johnson

Crew are always on the go, so to beef up their energy and sustain it throughout the day, I always serve complex carbohydrate and protein snacks.

Forget sugary items and high-glycemic fruits, as this will only cause a sugar drop after a couple of hours. The lower the Glycemic Index score, the more slowly the rise in blood sugar,  which can help the body better manage post-meal changes. Protein bars are not much of a long-term fix either as they contain a lot of carbs and sugar. 

Set up a snack basket or a tray and keep it stocked during the day for the crew to grab as they are heading outside on deck, or to tend to guests on the beach, or for their break time.

Here are some snack ideas:

  • Assemble a platter with hard cheeses, fresh vegetables and crackers. This provides calcium and vitamin D. If some crew members can’t tolerate dairy, serve  cashew cheese instead, perhaps seasoned with roasted red peppers and eggplant.
  • Fry some eggplant and roll it up with some of the cashew cheese, then serve with tomato sauce for a quick snack or lunch. 
  • Serve rice-paper rolls filled with julienned vegetables alongside a dipping sauce.
  • Put together a fresh platter with raspberries, grapefruit, pears, dried apricots (which are packed with copper), apples, and other low-glycemic fruit. Most whole fruits have a GI score under 55.
  • Soups with bulgar and barley are filling and help slow the rise of blood sugar levels. 
  • Make a hummus with butter beans or peas, and serve non-starchy vegetables as the dipping tool.
  • Have a melon, ham and cheese – mozzarella or burrata – salad available. This is great balance of flavors. 
  • Shakes or smoothies are an option, whether homemade on board or  prepackaged. Read the labels – paleopro.com puts out a product sourced from pastured, grass-fed cows that offers 26 grams of protein per serving.
  • Create a “bar” of different nut butters, with different toppings to sprinkle on each one. 
  • Serve roasted peppers and onions with chicken sausage in little snack bowls.
  • Serve wraps filled with fresh vegetables and deli meats, or stuffed with prosciutto, avocado and lettuce.
  • Chill some yogurt-berry parfaits, using coconut whip, fresh berries and granola.
  • Try meat sliders with pulled pork, pulled beef or grilled chicken tenders.
  • For vegan crew members, try tacos using walnuts as the meat.
  • Make a tart using pre-made phyllo dough and fill it with asparagus, shaved kohlrabi and serrano ham. Serve in individual slices. 
  • A quiche is always a good bet, served with fresh fruit. 
  • Make vegan skewers with mushrooms, seitan and peppers.
  • Dice small cauliflower, cook some quinoa, and throw in curry and raisins for a snack that will stave off hunger.
  • Serve a giant, roasted vegetable platter with different salsas.
  • Put out some samosas or falafel for a quick snack.
  • Strawberry-chia-cashew nut smoothies or chia with pistachio milk are both great alternatives to sodas and energy shots.
  • Be sure to include lentils and grains in salads. Not only are they high in fiber, but they also stabilize your blood sugar for the long hauls. Throw in some blueberries or strawberries for sweetness.
  • Nut-butter balls, such as peanut or cashew butter, mixed with oats, raisins and coconut, are great pick-me-ups.

There are many ways to contribute healthy snacks to the crew menus. I hope some of these become your go-to snacks for your crew; they worked well for mine. I would love to hear your ideas for crew snacks. Please feel free to submit them to me. 

Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine, and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years. Comments are welcome below.

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About Chef Mary Beth LawtonJohnson

Mary Beth Lawton Johnson is a certified executive pastry chef and Chef de Cuisine and has worked on yachts for more than 25 years.

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