Salmon Over Greens
Eat balanced meals consisting of lean proteins, veggies, and whole grains, that deliver the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

The COVID-19 shutdown has greatly impacted the mental and physical health of restaurant industry professionals. This is a community used to serving others; they’re on their feet in the heart of social environments, interacting and working challenging shifts together.

When all of that comes to a screeching halt, the fallout can be overwhelming.

Heather Mangieri, president of Heather Mangieri Nutrition, and Kat Kinsman, senior editor at Food & Wine, discussed the toll of the coronavirus on the hospitality community during a webinar sponsored by Unilever, as part of its #FairKitchens initiative.

The two offered seven tips for staying motivated and taking care of oneself during the crisis.

  1. Don’t use food to feel better. Stop and recognize what is causing you to reach for food, and find something ‑‑ anything ‑‑ to redirect your action. Take a walk around the block, drink water, read a book, or call a family member or friend. Get past the moment when you head to the cupboard to self-soothe with food.
     
  2. Eat nutritionally balanced meals. Nutrients from a variety of foods work together to help strengthen your immune system. Fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, and beans deliver everything from zinc to vitamins A, B, C, D and E to your system.
     
  3. What motivates you is personal. Find what gets you moving and doing; it must be something that makes you happy, even if it’s hard. Also, try to stick to some semblance of a routine each day.
     
  4. Your routine must include sleep. Sleep deprivation will do a number on your mental and physical health. Check out meditation apps like Headspace and InsightTimer, which chefs swear by, Kinsman says.
     
  5. Stay connected to your foodservice tribe. They get you; they know the job and they understand the specific effects the pandemic is having on you. Peers in the industry can be a key source of information on relief programs, food access, and mental health help, too.
     
  6. Accept relief/aid. For many, unemployment could force you into needing assistance for the first time. Take it if and when it is offered.
     
  7. Be of service. If you are lucky enough not to need relief, give help to others. Serving people in times of crisis is one of the most profound and beneficial ways to find relief from your own anxiety and isolation.

Register for and listen to the half-hour webinar here.