Even the best of us struggle to eat well. When I was thinking about what angle to take with this post I thought I would focus on how it’s hard to be healthy when you’re on the go (to rehearsals, to classes, to a concert) but it’s more than that, really. It’s about feeling like you have options instead of being beholden to the schedule.
When you work a nine-to-five job it’s easy to meal prep, you know where you’re going to be and when. There are lots of pictures on Instagram showing perfectly portioned, perfectly positioned bento boxes that make for easy lunches that will brighten up any cubicle. But a musician has to contend with a schedule that changes every day, sometimes at the last minute. There are orchestra rehearsals, quartet practice, travelling for student lessons, for your own lessons, classes, concerts, days in the practice room, days spent at home catching up on admin and planning what you will eat is usually not at the top of that list.
So we grab whatever is easiest – if we are bad, it’s instant ramen, and if we are good, it’s a supermarket sandwich. It’s easy to grab a morning muffin at Starbucks (for roughly a million calories) so how do you plan meals when you’re either commuting, in rehearsals, getting home late from a performance, or spending the day in the practice room? Buying meals get expensive so planning a packed breakfast/lunch/dinner becomes not only an opportunity to eat healthily but also save money.
Most fun lunchboxes don’t fit in a viola case (some of my music doesn’t even fit in my case). Carrying an extra bag just so I can have a homemade ham and cheese sandwich doesn’t feel like a balanced sacrifice. It’s just easier to buy something along the way.
I struggle with this on most days. There exists a day when I have found an equilibrium between making my own morning latte in a cute travel mug and finding a trove of inexpensive recipes that satisfy (and don’t take up all of the space in my bag).
Lately I have been trying to consciously eat more fruit and fresh veggies so popping some grapes and strawberries in my bag helps. I also bought one of those trendy water infuser bottles and literally never use the infuser bit (it feels like a waste of fruit for not much taste payoff). But the whole meal, I haven’t figured that out. I’ve talked to lots of musicians, singers, and actors who suffer the same conundrum.
What does everyone else do?