“I skip lunch” is a comment I’ve heard repeated over and over in the grooming industry. I’m sad to report that pet stylists do skip lunch. Many make unhealthy choices, don’t eat lunch, eat on the fly, or pick up take-out or fast food.
I’ve always been interested in health and safety in the grooming industry. This is important information that pertains to everybody. I wrote my first article, “Eat Right Groom Happy”, in February 2010. The Successful Pet Groomer includes five chapters on the occupational hazards of grooming and three chapters on the topic of healthy eating.
One thing is a given is that groomers need to take better care of themselves. Susan Sarris states, “Our eating habits are terrible.” I agree.
Why do groomers skip lunch?
The day in the life of a pet stylist is busy. As soon as that first pup walks through the front door, the fun begins and never ends. Lunch is an easy meal to miss because the afternoon in a grooming business can be the busiest time of day, especially during the holidays. Some groomers work through lunch in order to save time and avoid working late; however in reality it rarely works out that way.
Besides the lack of time, groomers skip lunch to lose weight or cut calories. This is not usually a good idea. This can increase your appetite or cause you to overeat and/or make poor food choices. Eating lunch can help you break the habit of eating anything you can get your hands on, as you stand at your open refrigerator, or grab something fast on the way home. It can take some of the enjoyment out of eating. Not eating properly can result in feeling poorly afterwards, and having regrets about what you did consume.
Groomers expend an enormous amount of energy when they work. In order to replenish the energy, the body requires fuel. This is supplied by the foods we eat. A healthy lunch should include vitamins, minerals, and fat and the five main food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and dairy. Eating lunch is good for your metabolism and helps you power through the day. This is essential to one’s productivity and health.
In some countries, lunch is the most important meal of the day because this is when activity is highest. Eating a few hours after breakfast re-energizes our body and can raise blood sugar when focus and concentration are most important. This helps us avoid an afternoon crash. If you’re feeling sluggish, eating even a small lunch or snack can renew your energy and help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the next several hours.
Lunch is not just about putting food in your mouth. There is a social aspect to consider. Lunch can be about stepping away from the action of a busy grooming business and sitting down, perhaps with a co-worker. You can make friends when you eat lunch. If you’re a mobile pet stylist like I am, you can eat lunch parked under a shady tree.
I’ve been making my lunch everyday since I started grooming in 2005. I come from a family of lunch makers and lunch eaters. My style is a bit different then sitting down and eating at a table. I don’t eat a traditional lunch. The key to my lunch is my lunch bag.
I have found that packing and eating small portions throughout the day works best for me. Lunch is my favorite meal because I can spread it out over a few hours. Taking small meal breaks frequently is key in keeping the brain as active as possible and helps avoid the build-up of stress. This can be as simple as eating a piece of fruit or a serving of almonds.
Following a diet of eating several small meals a day can help maintain healthy weight and eliminates weight fluctuation. This kind of diet also promotes portion control and can boost metabolism. Those who follow this plan say they feel more satisfied at the end of the day.
Let’s crunch some numbers. If I ate out three days a week at $10.00 per meal, this adds up to $30.00 per week, $120.00 per month, $1,440 per year. I’d rather spend that money on new tools or products for my business, or even better, attend a grooming convention, or take a vacation.
Two misconceptions about lunch.
It’s not. It just takes one trip to the grocery store per week to make the smartest and healthiest choices. Shop the perimeter with a list; this is where the healthiest foods are located and will prevent any impulse buys.
It is widely known that taking time for a healthy lunch pays off mentally and physically. If you skip that midday meal it can alter your mood, energy level, and temperament for the rest of the day. I look forward to my lunch because I like to plan what I like to eat. Make eating lunch a priority. There are so many benefits. It’s a great feeling to feel good about what you eat.
Crackers/Pretzels/Bread (high fiber, whole wheat)
Granola Bars/Granola/ /Sports Bars
V8 juice (low sodium)
Beef jerky, Chicken Jerky
Single serving covered almonds
100 calorie snacks
Instant Oatmeal Packs
Tuna/pasta/salmon in a can in water
Ready to eat salad
Deli meats — Turkey, Ham
Hard Boiled Eggs
Laughing Cow Cheese Triangles (comes in low fat)
Eat lunch … enjoy life!
Ellen Ehrlich is a mobile pet stylist who loves to think, talk, read, and write about pet grooming. Next to grooming, Ellen loves to empower, motivate, and inspire other groomers to be the best they can be. Ellen is the author of The Successful Pet Groomer, Go Mobile And Succeed, and 49 Essays On Pet Grooming. For more informatio go to www.gomobileandsucceed.com