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.


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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