Written by the lovely Lucy Mears from Payne and Gunter on Tuesday 17th December 2013

A day in the life of an event professional at Christmas can be compared with that of a marathon runner; Hours and hours on your feet, tackling unexpected obstacles and pushing through moments of sheer exhaustion to reach the finish line – in our case the last reveller to leave the party!

A marathon runner wouldn’t be able to perform well without good nutrition and neither can event professionals. Tempting as it may be to reach for fast food and canapés, we must take our diet seriously otherwise run the risk of burning out before we even get to enjoy the festivities ourselves.

Preparing healthy meals needn’t be a chore says Payne and Gunter’s Operations Director Bethan: “We specialise in creating event food that wows the senses and which often takes a lot of time and skill to produce.

“However in everyday life, especially at busy times like Christmas, it’s important that food is nutritious and quick to prepare. These recipes can be made in a flash but will keep you energised through the long hours and help to keep winter sniffles at bay.”

Breakfast – porridge with walnuts, blueberries and honey

Porridge has a low GI and will release energy slowly so you won’t experience a mid morning slump. Add walnuts (for protein and to help support brain function and the immune system), blueberries (for their super antioxidant powers) and honey to taste.

Lunch – Tuna and vegetable risotto

Brown rice again has a low GI helping to keep you energised throughout the afternoon – it’s also high in fibre and really filling. Tuna adds the all important low fat protein element and is also an excellent source of selenium which is good for the immune system.

Cook 300-400g brown rice and allow to cool. Add the following:

Diced mixed peppers, cucumber, carrot, tomatoes and any other vegetables you want.

Add a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil and mix.  Top with some rocket for an added vitamin punch.

Portion up into 3-5 tupperware pots and you’ll have a filling lunch on the go all week.

Snacks & hydration

Take a selection of fruits (bananas, apples, grapes) nuts (almonds, Brazils, cashews), smoothies and greek yoghurt to work with you to keep hunger at bay. And most importantly drink loads of water – the odd coffee helps as well but don’t overdo it, it’ll have the opposite effect and leave you dehydrated and tired.

Dinner – “Recovery” chicken noodle broth


If you’re getting home late at night, the temptation is to rummage for all the wrong things but don’t. In just ten minutes, you can create a highly nutritious and comforting meal.  One of the best nutritional weapons for a busy professional is a cooked rotisserie chicken. Buy one on the way home and you can create this simple dish with other ingredients you have at home in no time.

900ml chicken or vegetable stock (or Miso soup mix)

175g shredded cooked chicken

1  tsp chopped fresh root ginger

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

50g rice or wheat noodles

2 tbsp sweetcorn, canned or frozen

2-3 mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 spring onions, shredded

2 tsp soy sauce, plus extra for serving

Shredded fresh chilli or dried chilli flakes to serve

Pour the stock into a pan and add the chicken ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, partly cover and simmer.

Add the noodles, corn, mushrooms, half the spring onions and the soy sauce. Simmer for 3-4 mins until the noodles are tender. Ladle into two bowls and scatter over the remaining spring onions, herbs and chilli shreds if using. Serve with extra soy sauce for sprinkling.

Written by the lovely Lucy Mears from Payne and Gunter on Tuesday 17th December 2013

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