Eating healthy in the firehouse (or any house) can be a difficult task. But, in order to change the culture of the fire service (to a healthier one) cooks and food choices in the firehouse need to get better. Here are 3 easy and healthy tips that can help.
1. Serve meals on smaller plates.– One of the biggest fears of every firehouse chef is not preparing enough food for the crew. This fear usually leads to an excess of available food and larger portions around the table. Most firehouses not only serve an abundance of food but they usually serve them on large plates. A simple switch of dinnerware size could be incredibly useful solution to the large firehouse serving size.
Research suggests that people eat up to 22% fewer calories when they’re able to decrease the amount of empty space on their plate. Larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller; and smaller plates can lead us to misjudge that the very same quantity of food as being much larger. Serve your firehouse meals on smaller plates instead of using a big 20-inch plate. If you’re using different plates for different foods, you can switch things around to your advantage. Use bowls for salad and vegetables and smaller plates for the meat and carbohydrates. AND, don’t go back for seconds.
2. Have some healthy fruits and veggies always available.- Replaced the random cookies and muffins with celery and orange slices. Put all of the processed sugary foods and cakes away and leave some of veggies and fruit out around the kitchen. After some calls, its habit to walk to the kitchen to see what’s there, if there are healthier options out, you are less likely to search for the unhealthy foods.
3. Replace pitchers of sugary fruit juices with water.–Muscles are comprised of water in a great percentage. That’s why when we get dehydrated our muscles look smaller and performance decreases. Only a 2% water loss decreases the ability to work by 15%. It is important to remember that you should never wait until you feel thirsty. It is a well know fact that by the time you feel this way you are already dehydrated. Replacing the sugary juices that don’t add with any nutritional value (other than excess sugar) with water can help you perform better. Need to spruce up boring water? Try to cut some lemons, mango or limes and put them in the pitcher.
In order to change the culture of the fire service, we need to make the firehouse environment more healthy. Try to incorporate these tips at your firehouse (or any house).