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Five Superfoods to Boost Crew Menus

As a yacht chef, preparing crew meals is akin to spinning plates. You must navigate diverse dietary preferences, accommodate varying schedules, and optimise limited galley space, often in remote areas with limited provisions. Such challenges demand creativity and adaptability in menu planning and execution.

With a growing focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of crew members, this article aims to explore health-boosting nutrients known as ‘superfoods’ and how to incorporate them into your menus. These superfoods possess inherent healing and health-promoting properties to ensure the vitality and wellness of all aboard.

What is a superfood?

The term ‘superfood’ is not a scientific classification but rather a popular marketing term used to describe foods that are exceptionally nutrient-dense and believed to offer various health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Superfoods are typically rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and beneficial fats or proteins, and very often they are plant-based.

As we approach the Mediterranean season, relying on these powerhouse foods is essential to ensure that your crew receives the very best nutrition. And it's important that chefs prioritise their own wellbeing too – just as an airline safety instruction tells you to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others -  even on the busiest of days. Make sure to enjoy your fair share of these nutritional powerhouses for optimal performance and vitality and you’ll be better equipped to take care of your crew.

Why superfoods matter

Plant-based superfoods are celebrated for their rich content of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which contribute to overall health and combat oxidative stress and inflammation. But what do we mean by these terms? 

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals (unstable molecules) and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals occur during normal bodily functions and due to external factors like pollution and UV radiation, leading to cell damage and contributing to ageing and disease.

Superfoods are full of antioxidants which neutralise free radicals, helping to prevent cellular damage and maintain overall health. Studies also show that a plant-based diet rich in superfoods promotes a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation. 

Berries v2

Five superfoods to include in your daily crew menus

Here are several plant-based superfoods that are commonly recognised for their nutritional density and health-promoting properties, all of which are easy to source:


Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and acai berries are known for their high levels of antioxidants, helping to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

Berries add colour and natural sweetness to smoothies, overnight oats, muffins, cakes, and desserts making them appealing and delicious, and they are just as nutritious bought fresh, frozen or freeze-dried. 

Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard greens are packed with vitamins A, C and K,  minerals such as iron and calcium, and plenty of fibre.

You can use these in smoothies or juices for the crew's morning break, or they can be a colourful and tasty addition to curries and salads. Added to a chickpea omelette with mushrooms they bring an iron-rich component to keep fatigue at bay.

Small Vegan Kitchen Savvy Tip:  Add a few drops of lemon or serve with freshly squeezed orange juice as vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron more easily.

Green smoothies

Nuts and seeds
Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in healthy fats (like omega-3 fatty acids), protein, fibre, and various micronutrients. They are a great source of energy for those long days when crew need a high but quality calorie intake.

You can use nuts and seeds in salads, smoothies, curries and sweet treats such as bliss balls, muesli bars and even in cakes. 

Small Vegan Kitchen Savvy Tip:  Add a few tablespoons of chia seeds to your soy milk and berry smoothie.  In addition to calcium and protein, chia seeds are rich in dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and various vitamins and minerals.

Whole grains
Quinoa, oats, and brown rice provide complex carbohydrates (sustained energy), fibre, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. They can be used in sweet and savoury recipes and when added to salads will keep your crew full of the good energy they need to get them through the afternoon.

Whole grains make a great base for vegan burgers, vegan meatloaf, and plant-based meatballs. They are easy to incorporate into your daily menus and provide a great alternative to white rice and pasta, which are quick release energy foods that can soon leave us feeling flat. 

Nut butters

Green tea
Known for its antioxidant properties, green tea is associated with potential health benefits including improved metabolism and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Green tea makes a great alternative to coffee for keeping the crew alert and awake. It does contain caffeine, but it also contains an amino acid called L-theanine which counterbalances the stimulating effects of caffeine, and it’s this unique combination that is believed to explain the more balanced energy boost associated with green tea.  

When you are in warmer climates, an iced green tea with fresh fruits is a more refreshing and healthier alternative to sugary sodas. Green tea matcha cake and cheesecake are also deliciously decadent desserts.

Small Vegan Kitchen Savvy Tip:  Decorate your green tea matcha cheesecake or muffins with berries for a supercharged and deliciously sweet treat.

While superfoods are an important part of a healthy diet, no single food can provide all the nutrients needed for optimal health. The best approach is to include superfoods as part of a balanced diet that incorporates a range of nutritious ingredients from different food groups, ensuring that you and your crew are well-nourished and on top form for the season ahead.

For further information of to contact Sarah Powell-Fowler please visit the website here.

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