Health Tips How these chefs stay healthy despite being surrounded by food all day

Watching calories is no easy feat when you’re in the food business, see how eleven chefs manage to stay healthy amid all the temptation.

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Imagine being surrounded by food day in and day out, it may sound like a foodie’s paradise, but for those working in the restaurant industry, this is also a daily reality.

Just like any craftsman wanting to produce the perfect product, chefs must consume the foods they cook on a regular basis to ensure its up to their standards, which, unsurprisingly, can spell disaster for the waistline.

However, this does not always have to be the case,in fact, eleven chefs, who have learned to stay healthy and fit despite the daily temptations, are the perfect proof.

They shared with Yahoo Health their tips and tricks, so we can all adopt them for ourselves.

  1. Watch Those Liquid Calories- When Tom Costello, executive chef and owner of Thyme restaurant in Yorktown Heights, NY, was diagnosed with celiac disease, he had to take drastic measures to change his diet. "Before being diagnosed with celiac, I was tempted mostly by bread and pasta since it’s always available in the kitchen," Costello tells Yahoo Health. "But, another item that’s always around that I was still allowed to have was soda. And it’s easy to consume several days worth of sugar in one shift." He recommends skipping the liquid calories of sugary drinks, and instead loading up on greens and healthy protein like shrimp and chicken.

  2. Eat Well ‘Most Of The Week’- Like most of us, chef Julian Medina of Toloache and Yerba Buena restaurants in New York City has a weakness for tacos. His culinary prowess has enabled him to establish a business based on his Latin food know-how. But how does he resist temptation when his kitchen is constantly churning out tacos filled with lobster, shrimp, brisket and cactus? "I eat well most of the week," Medina tells Yahoo Health. "When I cook for myself during the week I like healthier food, and constantly am trying to make healthier food taste more satisfying. Then I splurge here and there." This mentality removes the constricting nature of a diet making it easier to stick to over time.

  3. Don’t Deprive Yourself- Chef Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami, Florida, has made a name for herself through her hearty and flavorful dishes. She finds inspiration for her international fare through lots of traveling and lots of tasting of food. But instead of feeling guilt, Calvo has instead adopted a philosophy of balance. “I don’t deprive myself of my cravings and junk foods,” she tells Yahoo Health. Instead, she limits the frequency with which she has these dietary splurges, and makes sure to get in some exercise when she knows she’s in for a calorific meal.

  4. Stay Active- For Will Artley of BLT Steak in Washington, D.C., has to sample decadent foods like butter-poached lobster and Wagyu A-5 beef on a regular basis, but as you might expect, such caloric foods led to weight gain for Artley and a realization he had to get healthy. "It’s always good to remember that food is fuel for our body," he tells Yahoo Health. "So, if you are constantly putting bad fuel in, it’s going to be a rough run." Artley ended up dropping 100 pounds by becoming more active and training for a triathlon. "You have to be active in some form or another," he says. The chef is now competing in his third Ironman.

  5. Eat Smalls Meals Throughout The Day- As executive chef for the Gerber Group properties, David Nichols has to be well-versed in a variety of cuisines and always on the hunt for the latest food trends. This requires tasting different things all the time, which is actually something Nichols credits to staying healthy. "I constantly taste all the dishes I cook," he tells Yahoo Health. "I think eating smaller meals more often throughout the day is a great approach. If I wait to eat something when I am starving, I tend to eat so much more." Grazing throughout the day prevents feelings of ravenous hunger — and, as a result, binge eating.

  6. Learn How To Season Properly- NYC hotspot David Burke Kitchen is known for its rustic flavors, and executive chef Chris Shea credits proper seasoning to helping keep him in shape. "When you start to fully grasp how to find balance between healthy fats like olive oil and acids [such as in citrus and vinegar], and use herbs, spices, and aromatics to flavor, you start to find healthy foods to be the most desired and the most delicious," he tells Yahoo Health. By learning to properly season your foods with a variety of spices, you can turn a bland vegetable into a culinary delight. Bonus: Most spices have their own health benefits!

  7. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate- For Liz Williams, pastry chef at Relais & Châteaux ‘s Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, it’s not the sweets that are her downfall, it’s a lack of H2O. “I find that when I let myself get dehydrated is when I start to munch on whatever is closest,” she tells Yahoo Health. “As long as my water glass is full, I’m less likely to grab something bad for me.” Many people often mistake thirst for hunger, leading us to overeat. If you think you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water first and see if that hunger dissipates, and of course,staying properly hydrated anyway is good for optimal body functioning, it’s generally recommended to get nine cups of total beverages a day for women and 13 cups for men.

  8. Make It A Rule To Always Have One Dark Green Vegetable With Your Meal- Whether you’re eating pasta or meat, Queen of the Night and Diamond Horseshoe executive chef Jason Kallert says to always have a dark green vegetable along with it. Adding spinach, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, or collard greens to your meals ensures you’re getting your nutrients , and also helps you not fill up on the less-healthy items on your plate. Kallert offers a pro tip to maximize the taste and benefits of greens: “If your protein has a lot of fat (rib-eye, short rib, pork belly), steam your green vegetable,” he tells Yahoo Health. “If you choose a lean protein (tuna, chicken, salmon), sauté your vegetable in olive oil.”

  9. Don’t Go For Pre-Cooked- It may seem a little cliché for a chef to tell you to cook your own meals, but master chocolatier Christophe Toury of Voila Chocolat in New York City says that’s the secret to staying healthy. “My mother always used to say, ‘What’s on your plate should have been in the garden 10 minutes ago,’” Toury tells Yahoo Health. Consider how many of today’s ills have been linked with eating processed foods, he says. So even if you are having chicken and potatoes for dinner, having fresh chicken and potatoes is better than something from the frozen food aisle or fast food joint down the road. “I always had a strong understanding of where my food was coming from,” Toury says. 

  10. Eat Different Things All The Time- Marc Murphy, chef of Landmarc and Ditch Plains restaurants in New York City and judge on the Food Network show Chopped, grew up traveling all around the world. This not only helped him develop items for his menus, but also discover a secret to staying healthy. "I vary my diet," he tells Yahoo Health. "I constantly remember what I had that week. I had pork one night, duck another night and I’ll realize I didn’t have steak that week, so I’ll have a steak. You can’t go out and have steak six nights a week or else you won’t feel so good." Take a cue from Murphy and make sure you’re eating lots of different foods throughout the week. After all, each food has its own benefit — each fruit and vegetable has its own unique abundance of nutrients, as do different kinds of protein (meat and eggs have vitamin B12, fish has omega-3s, and so on). Plus, the variety will keep you from getting bored and keep you mindful about what you’re eating.

  11. Realize That Sweets May Not Be The Culprit Of Weight Gain- Pastry chef Thiago Silva from EMM Group’s CATCH and Lexington Brass has it pretty tough: It’s his job to make and eat sweets. While this sounds awesome in theory, it ultimately led to Silva putting on weight. But Silva has lost 50 pounds in the past year while still making all of his delicious desserts and crazy celebrity cakes. He knew he could not stop eating sweets because of the nature of his job, but he was able to cut out another culprit of his weight gain: Coke and fries.  Silva realized that sweets aren’t necessarily the main culprits for weight gain. “I only eat sugar for work and keep it out of my diet at home,” he tells Yahoo Health. “Even though I’m having some every day, it’s in moderation and I’ve removed other bad things from my diet.”

Even though these chefs are foreign, their healthy tips and ideas are still applicable here in Nigeria, so, try and learn from them.

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