27 May Relocating? Here’s How to Maintain Your Diet
Eating the “right food” aka diet is not just a way to stay healthy and energized for expats. To most of them, regardless of which part of the world they come from, it is also a remembrance of home. The pleasure they feel in letting that spicy taste linger on their tongue is not a passing fancy but can become a permanent performance-booster. Quick access to their favorite cuisine is also an indirect way for them to form a sense of community with their fellow countrymen living nearby.
As a global mobility manager, by making it easier for your assignee to maintain their diet in their new home, you can help them achieve both their health and acculturation objectives. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
Do your research in advance: ask your assignee for their monthly or weekly meal plan. This preparation happens long before the assignee flies into their new home. Start by asking them if they have a special diet they need to maintain. Dig deeper and determine if they have a few homegrown dishes they would find it hard to live without.
As advised by Moving.com, seeing the actual meal plan will also help the two of you plan which food can be obtained from the new neighborhood, and which would be harder to purchase. In some cases, your assignee might have to improvise and change the menu a little.
Check the neighborhood. Visit the actual area where the assignee will be relocated. Take a closer look to see if there are specialized health shops, food stores, and ethnic restaurants that can provide the assignee either with a cooked meal or ingredients that they can whip up to create their favorite food right in their own kitchen.
Online browsing can point you in the right direction. The Impact Group says that sites like HappyCow and VegOut can narrow down your assignee’s search to specific dishes that are vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten-free. It’s not a problem in Silicon Valley.
But nothing still beats a personal visit. Ask the assistance of your partners, like business associations, university professors, or corporate housing companies like California Corporate Housing.
After the introduction, be friendly with the restaurant or grocery owner and explain that you are helping out a guest who happens to come from their home country. After relocating, your assignee will find it interesting and helpful to meet with these food experts. Many of them would be glad to assist your assignee to adjust (as they did). Some of them might offer their food and grocery delivery services to the assignee. Let’s also not forget the connection and sense of community that these personal meet-ups can create.
Stock up food in advance. Employ a shopper or temporary assistant to buy the products in the groceries located near their accommodations. Your assignee’s stress level and hunger pangs will go down once they discover that they do have ready-to-cook food waiting for them in their new digs. The employment of a shopper has to be done with their approval and consent, and perhaps at their expense.
Buy food items that are canned and not easily spoiled, and therefore can be stocked in boxes while your assignee is still on his way.
When it comes to their prized fruits and veggies, the assignee would have to do their own shopping after they are settled in.
Do not forget to include a lot of snacks and bottled water, regardless of the assignee’s culinary preferences.
Moving and settling in will take a lot of energy and can tire them out. Bottled water in their kitchen can keep them hydrated, and slow down any feelings of hunger, especially if they couldn’t find their favorite food to dine on at the moment. So will the snacks; just make sure they are nutritious energy-boosters.
You can’t go wrong with the food that is universally accepted as healthy and delicious, such as nuts, dried fruit, whole grain crackers, protein bars, and peanut butter.
The best thing for assignees is to connect with folks in their community, especially those who have lived in Silicon Valley for many years. They’ll know where to find your craving for home-cooked meals as well. That’s in their homes. And for those looking to explore food from other cultures, assignees would do well to whip up a meal like this family and invite the locals to have a taste of their food.
And if it’s good for your guests’ health, too, why not, right?!