“How do you pack snacks and meals for your weekend day trips? What items help most?”
There are always ways to find excuses for skipping a diet day. Especially a diet where everything is strictly monitored, weighed, and appropriately paired with other approved food items for the day. It’s generally easier to just say, “It’s only for one day”, as you drive to the restaurant or through the drive-up window for your order. After all, just one turkey sandwich can’t be all that bad…except when you are restricted from gluten, condiments, and processed foods. Oh sure, you can have turkey, but never, I repeat never the amount that would be in said sandwich, because the amount of turkey allowed in one week is carefully weighed out and divided out over a few meals, to make it last longer, and it’s nowhere near what’s sitting on that sandwich. So, what do we do if we want to go somewhere away from our own refrigerators and fruit and veg bins?
Let’s take a day when you’re planning to drive to a trailhead somewhere in the next county and plan on being out all day…away from your approved meals and food supply. This is something I do on a regular basis…drive out of the county, hit a trail, or visit a garden or reserve, and spend some time there. Very often, I’m out all day.
What do I do, and how do I approach being away from my ready supply of food? I remembered what it was like to be a mom of a baby. I remembered that whenever we went somewhere, it wasn’t just my daughter and I climbing into the car and taking off. I had to do a bit of planning, pack some supplies…such as extra changes of clothes for the baby, her food and milk, her toys and teething ring, and her diapers. We never left the house without this bag of supplies. Well, that’s what it’s like. Only now all the preparations and packing are for myself, to make sure I don’t get caught somewhere hours out on a trail, without something to eat. It’s important for two reasons…1) I don’t want there to be a reason to cheat, because it only hurts me; and 2) If I’m actively hiking a
trail, and I’m on really lean foods with no carbs and nothing to fall back on, my blood sugar can drop significantly, so I need to make sure I’m bringing the fuel needed to keep me going. I’ve noticed since making this lifestyle change that when I’m not prepared, my body pays for it.
What types of things do I bring with me that fit within my diet restrictions? First, I think of any meals I might be missing and understand that I’ll most likely be out on the trail somewhere when they happen, so I pack things like fresh mixed veggies and arugula with spinach, a small container of black beans, and a bit of my fresh homemade salsa. Just like that, I have a Mexican flavored salad with veggies and the protein of the beans to fuel me up. It’s all lightweight, easy to pack, and delicious. I also bring one or two boiled egg whites or a few almonds to munch along the trail to keep me going. Another thing I do is pack cut up veggie sticks like celery, zucchini, cucumber, and only a few small sticks of carrots (due to sugar content), and a small container of almond butter or balsamic vinegar to dip them in. Yum! It’s a great power punch with added protein and it really does make a difference. I do always take water and green tea with me everywhere I go, because hydration is important. I also have a couple servings of electrolyte powder to add to my water if needed.
Here’s another tip…if you’re planning an outing with someone else, make sure they have all the same things to eat that you will. Otherwise, they may feel the need to stop at that drive-through for a quick burger, and that’s just going to remove you from the happy place you were in after your hike in the trees. If they aren’t prepared to pack appropriately, help them by packing extra. Sharing is caring…most specifically when you’re out with others and need to succeed.
When I know I’m staying overnight somewhere on an extended trip, I pack a few of my approved prepared meals in an ice chest for lunches and dinners, along with boiled egg whites and a small bit of fruit for breakfast, and I only stay at locations where microwaves or stoves are available to heat the food up. Again, it’s just a bit more planning, but it’s worth it, and let’s face it, some of us don’t have the option of failing because it can create some serious health issues.
When I plan on traveling out of the country, I research their local crops to see what’s available that time of year, make meal plans to cover my time away, and then stop at the local shops to pick up those items to eat. I stay in places with refrigerators and stoves so I can cook what I need, and I usually spend the first day in a place shopping and cooking for the next few days. I also take a small collapsible ice bag to take meal items with me when I’m out on the road.
The main thing to take away from this is, just like bringing an extra jacket or pair of shoes when we leave the house, think about the length of time you’ll be away, and understand that whatever is eaten during your time away, needs to be provided by yourself. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves. If we succeed…hooray! If we fail, there is no one else to point a finger at or to blame. I’m lucky because right now I have a team working along with me on this journey. I will admit, this would all be more complicated on my own so I’m grateful for the support. But when that support eventually subsides, I’ll still be responsible to make sure I carry all that I’ve learned throughout this process and keep moving in the right direction.