Working in a restaurant takes eating well on the job to a whole different level of difficult. I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 16 (first as a hostess and then as a waitress), and after five years I still finding eating well at work a challenge.
As a server, you are on your feet for hours, running to and from tables, and burning about 1,400 calories per eight hour shift (statistics based on a 140 lb person in Calories Burned by Occupation – How Many Calories does My Job Burn? by Fitness Blender). In general, this element of the job is an awesome perk! I love being on my feet, interacting with customers, and time flying by in a fast paced environment, but it also means I work up an appetite whenever I’m waitressing.
Which causes a reoccurring problem when I am surrounded by fatty, cholesterol packed, calorie loaded food. I don’t normally crave the food that I eat at work, or order it when I go out to eat. I’m indifferent to ribs, loaded baked potatoes, fries, or other fried foods (my weakness is actually dessert), but when I’m hungry without a way to get to something healthy as quickly and easily as I can a fry, I end up eating the fry… and snacking adds up.
Luckily, I really dislike any sodas, teas, or sugary drinks. I’m a water and coffee girl through and through, so the unlimited soda does not entice me, but I’m mindful of others in the restaurant business that find it to be a temptation.
Now it’s important to note that servers don’t get “lunch” breaks while working. There is time when the restaurant isn’t as busy as the dinner rush, but that doesn’t mean anyone gets to sit down and enjoy a well-balanced meal. In my experience, you eat when you have time, if you have time.
Just because I have my salad, sandwich, or go-to snacks all packed up doesn’t mean I get to them when I need them… which is at 930PM when I realize I haven’t stopped to use the restroom, take a sip of water, or slowed down for the past three hours. If the restaurant is busy, then I can’t stop to eat, but I can snack on the food that’s within arms reach, that I wouldn’t eat otherwise.
That being said, I still try my hardest. There is never an excuse to not making healthy choices, and there are ways to set myself up for success.
I never go to work hungry, always show up with a healthy snack or meal in tow, and a lug around a huge liter water bottle already filled up. I’d say about 75% of the time I can make it through a shift without touching anything and rely on carrots, bananas, and Quest Bars to tie me over until I can get home to make a nutritious dinner.
As I move forward with my marathon training I’m making a conscious effort to focus on avoiding snacking on unhealthy food at work, and instead eating what I bring.
I want to have the best performance possible during training, and that means fueling up on the most nutritional, performance enhancing food.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions or ideas to avoid the most frustrating #TheRestaurantProblem