In Case of Emergency, Break Open

This brief interlude in my food education journey offers some handy advice. I’ll be back tomorrow with Change #3. Or maybe a recipe. I haven’t decided yet.

Even the best laid plans can be foiled. Enter: Emergency Rations. I’ve never been one to willingly eat a meal replacement bar because I don’t actually feel like I’ve eaten anything. I feel much more satisfied if I sit at a table with a place mat, at least trying to thoughtfully chew and savor each bite. Eating on the run feels like I haven’t had anything to eat, since I didn’t go through the more extended motions involved in an actual meal, with identifiable food items instead of stuff ground up into, well, a meal, and shaped into a bar.

When I started my lifestyle change, one of the options was lunch bars and shakes (the latter of which I thoroughly detest). In the early days, I was really hesitant to deviate from the plan. Expecting that the occasion might arise when I might need food on the move, I got a few bars. It was a good plan, because I did end up needing them. I ate them out of necessity, knowing the lesser bar choice was much better than skipping a meal. I had a lifetime of experience with that, which only led to binge eating later.

With my more recent lifestyle changes, it’s become difficult to find bars that I actually want to eat, as most of them taste way too sugary to me. Instead, I always have snacks on hand that will at least sustain me until I can get some real food. I keep a stash in my office desk and another in the car.

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These generally include nuts, seeds, dried beans, kale chips, and chocolate. (The latter is not advisable unless you live somewhere with a constant 68 or so degree temperature.) I portion them out so I know exactly what I’m eating. I have this variety because it includes everything I’d need to substitute for a quasi-meal, if necessary.

The key to success is planning. But, it’s important to have a back-up plan. Maybe you forget your lunch at home, get called away unexpectedly to deal with what we refer to in my house as a ‘plot twist’, or just end up stuck somewhere much longer than expected. Your Emergency Rations can hold you over before you hit irrational, starvation mode.

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