Maintaining a balanced diet onboard can be challenging for crew members due to irregular hours, limited food options, and physically demanding roles. Proper nutrition is crucial for overall wellbeing, and while chefs are generally knowledgeable about nutrition, crew members have a responsibility to ensure they are fuelling their bodies well. Here’s a comprehensive guide by our app nutrition expert, Eli Brecher.

Key Nutritional Challenges and Solutions for Superyacht Crew

Lack of Nutritious Food Options
One significant challenge is the limited availability of nutritious food onboard. To combat this, stock up on shelf-stable foods like dried lentils, tinned beans, chickpeas, whole grains (brown rice, wholewheat pasta), and tinned fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines). These foods are high in protein and rich in omega-3, which supports mood, heart, eye, skin, and bone health.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are equally nutritious and last longer than fresh produce. Frozen berries, smoothie mixes (mango, banana, pineapple), peas, and mixed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots) for easy inclusion in meals.

Note: Typically, the onboard chef prepares most of the crew’s meals and provisions in advance, so it’s beneficial to communicate with the chef and Heads of Departments (HODs) to ensure the right foods are available for personal nutrition planning.

Eli Brecher Nutrition

Maintaining a Balanced Diet with Irregular Hours

Meal Planning and Circadian Rhythm
Irregular hours can disrupt the body’s natural body-clock (circadian rhythm). Plan your meals in advance to mitigate this. Avoid eating large meals in the early morning hours, as this can disturb sleep and wellbeing. If working overnight, have your main meal before the shift starts to stay full and prevent night-time snacking.

Batch Cooking
Prepare and batch-cook meals in advance if possible. This ensures access to balanced, nourishing meals even during busy periods.

Dietary Recommendations for Physically Demanding Roles

Protein and Carbohydrates
Crew members with physically demanding roles need higher protein intake for muscle support. Incorporate protein from animal sources (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy) and plant-based sources (beans, legumes, nuts, seeds). Choose complex carbohydrates like brown bread and brown rice over refined versions for sustained energy.

Healthy Snack Options Onboard

Nutritious Snacks

  • Nuts and Seeds: Packed with fibre and essential for a healthy gut. Create trail mixes with almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and raisins.
  • Bean Dips: Blend chickpeas, butterbeans, or kidney beans with olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy with vegetable sticks (carrot, cucumber) or whole grain crackers.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: A protein-rich snack where most nutrients are in the yolk.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration Tips
Keep a refillable water bottle and sip regularly. Enhance water with lemon slices, fresh mint, or cucumber. Herbal teas (mint, ginger, chamomile) are also great for hydration. In hot weather, brew large amounts of tea and refrigerate for refreshing iced tea.

Essential Vitamins and Supplements

Personalised Supplements
Everyone’s needs are unique. Consider supplements like high-quality multivitamins, omega-3 fish oil for mood and brain health, magnesium for relaxation and sleep, and vitamin D, especially in winter. Consult a nutritionist for personalised advice.

Debunking Nutrition Myths and Common Misconceptions

Low-Fat Diets: Healthy fats (oily fish, avocado, olive oil, nuts) are essential for brain, hormone, and skin health.
Carbohydrates: Complex carbs (whole grains, sweet potatoes) provide fibre and nutrients, counteracting cravings.

Fad Diets: Avoid trendy diets (keto, paleo) and opt for a balanced diet rich in natural whole foods and low in ultra-processed foods.

By prioritising nutritious foods, planning meals, and staying informed about dietary needs, superyacht crew members can maintain their health and wellbeing, ensuring peak performance and overall satisfaction on board.

For more detailed guidance and personalised nutrition plans, connect with our experts via the Superyacht Fitness app, which is available exclusively for our clients.