Hit the Road Jack, it`s Time to Snack!
Snacking while dashing to and from each class takes some planning…
Sometimes you don`t have access to your kitchen to make the great foods you have in mind. Sometimes you are stuck with eating out at any cafe you can find. And sometimes you are stranded on your campus, with five minutes to eat a snack and stop that blood sugar crash headache you can feel sneaking on you.
Today was one of those times. It wasn`t great.
I`ll admit, I know I`m not supposed to allow this to happen. I`m supposed to be smart, and pack my snacks and mini meals for the whole day. And then there are days when one gets up late and doesn`t even have time to put on a decent outfit. Everyone knows it`s a bad day when I`m stuck wearing jeans and a t-shirt, as I show up every day with a skirt as my most casual article of clothing. I`m the kind of person that dresses up to walk the dog. I just enjoy playing dress up. And I dislike having that fun revoked from me! I blame the alarm clock. Who`s with me?
I had some stale trail mix tucked in the bottom of my bag, so the crises was averted. The assault to my taste buds, however, was very sharp and painful.
I actually dislike salty flavors. I`m not really sure why, except that I know it is the truth. It upsets the diligent Thanksgiving cooks when I can`t stand to eat the brined turkey, because I`m that anti-salt.
None of which helps me in the quest to avoid the stuff. I need something savory, something with a hint of sweet, something delightfully bitter. I need something that can hang out in my bag for a few weeks and not change shape, color, or taste in the cashing around and ruffling all bags seem to get, no matter how careful one is.
Some Yummy Bottom-Of-Bag Snacks
- Beef jerky is really yummy, but venison and bison make you feel a little fancy and exotic with each bite.
- The old stand by snack bar. I`m obsessed with Raw Revolution`s coconut chocolate bars and Enjoy Life Foods coco loco bars.
- Snack bars have sugar in them, and can lead you straight to a headache if you aren`t careful! They really are only meant to take the edge of your hunger, and should be augmented by a real meal right away.
- Flavored nuts. I really like these curry cashews, chilli and lime chick peas (also called garbanzo beans), and cocoa coated almonds.
Sometimes you have a bit more options with your on-the-fly menu. You may know that you will be out and about during the day, and you can stretch out how long the contents of your bag stay safe for eating by using a thermal or otherwise temperature protecting measure to keep things safe to eat. Since this isn`t the emergency stuff you keep in the bottom of your bag all day, we should be fine stretching out into canned and semi dried food territory, instead of staying close to completely dry only.
Day Trip Snacks
I buy huge chunks of smoked gouda at Costco.
- Baby food. Ew gross, I know. But if you think about it as a veggie smoothie in a jar, it`s really quite nice! This yummy pumpkin pie one has 6 grams of sugar, and would pair nicely with some yummy salmon jerky. But then, I just like seafood, no matter what form it takes! (except eel. I`m just not a fan of eel. It`s actually even worse raw, which is strange because I usually love all things sushi.)
- Summer sausage and smoked cheese. You can stick some apple slices and crackers in your bag for the whole meal. My favorite picks are smoked Gouda (because gouda is so good-a!) and the varieties at Old Wisconsin. This is the sort of thing people have been eating on trips since the Middle Ages, so you can feel pretty special knowing that you are literally taking a bite out of history!
- I`m so upset my memory is evading me for this last one! I`ve gotten this awesome mini canned meal a few times before, that had green beans and chicken and some other stuff and tasted really good. It was french beans, somehow, and something about New Orleans…I`m so upset I couldn`t remember the brand name so you could have a taste yourself!
This is all assuming you have no access to any kitchen facilities. This is stuff I`d eat when I`m literally running around on my errands, or hanging out with friends that are content to eat every six hours. I say that last bit because I happen to have a mini meal every two hours. It helps keep my blood sugar on an even keel, so I don`t have to take any scary medicines or poke myself for blood readings all day.
If you are only going a few hours with your food, and have proper containers that will prevent awkward spillage, then I have even yummier quick snacks to share with you! I`m only listing a few of my favorites here, but I`ve done hundreds of different combinations.
Only Good for a Few Hours: Snacks
- 4 slices of sushi (choose a cooked variety, as I wouldn`t trust the raw kind out of the fridge for more than an hour!)
- Celery and peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. Sure, you could use almond butter or Nutella, I just don`t recommend it. Why? Because Nutella is so busy being sweet and appealing for kids, there is no room left in it for anything besides the sugar (read the nutrition label sometimes, it has way more than a ‘hint of cocoa and sugar’ like the add says); and I just don`t happen to like the taste of almond butter. Which is pretty weird, because I love almonds!
- meaty roll ups: a deli sliced meat topped with a slice of cheese and some guacamole or mustard for a splash of flavor, rolled up like grown up fruit roll ups. No, I don`t count fruit leathers as grown up fruit roll ups, as they are just nasty. (Or at least all the ones I`ve sampled have been syrupy sweet and made me think more of cough syrup than a special treat!)
- Good `ole cheese, turkey, and cracker stacks. I still prefer the combo of the Summer sausage and gouda I mentioned above, you can just shake it up by eating it in one go instead of as separate bits of yummy.
If you can`t think of anything else, just pack a cup or so of last night`s dinner as today`s snack. Much more satisfying than those wimpy 100 calorie packs, and usually much more balanced nutritionally than anything you`d get out of a vending machine. I say usually because some people have deplorable dinners, and some vending machines sell oddly healthy stuff!
Well, maybe you should take a second to sit. I don`t think it`s good to actually eat and run.
Full Lunch On the Run
Sometimes you don`t have time to whip up something amazing. Heck, sometimes you don`t have time to whip up anything, regardless of quality! That`s where this sort of food shines. It`s not something I`d eat everyday, but it`s perfectly decent. Unlike most fast food restaurants. I think I`m prejudiced, because all the fast food type restaurants around here are McDonald`s, Wendy`s, and other big chains. I`m sure if we had a place that sold prepared bentos or a fast serve pho restaurant, I`d be there in a heartbeat (sometimes when I wasn`t particularly low on time!). Well, they have those places only a few miles away, but people around here measure distances in time. Believe me, if you saw our traffic, you`d do the same. Point being, of course, that those restaurants which are only a few miles from me are closer to an hour from me, and I don`t actually have a car to get there anyways. I`m such a city person, I use the Metro to get everywhere. (The Metro is NOT like the subway. We have this staff of people called custodians- because janitors around here get called custodians- and food and drink is strictly outlawed, so everything is really very neat and tidy. I was so shocked the first time I visited NYC and saw how dirty their subways are!)
Main idea of that mess of a paragraph is that sometimes times get desperate, and so do you. But I have a few tricks up my sleeves for full meals that don`t actually require any kitchen stuff either!
You can use a proper bento box and traditional recipes… (pic at wiki)
- Madras Lentils from Tasty Bite. I think they taste pretty good without heat!
- Leftover pizza or Thai noodle dish from last night`s dinner, because leftovers are always quick. I am a huge fan of cold day after rice noodles! Drunken noodles and Phad Khing are my particular favorites :)
- Campbell`s to go soups. Sure, there are lots of to go type soups out there, I just don`t carry a can opener in my back pack. Feel free to use some super organic and fair trade company`s soup instead. In the meantime, I really like the coconut curry flavor. Can you see a trend with my food choices? I`ll admit, I like my food to be at least faintly Asian, if I can`t get my favorite authentic dishes.
- Sure, sandwiches hold up pretty well in a bag. You can do that. I actually like my sandwiches on freshly toasted bread, and really can`t stand them otherwise, but if you love it, go for it!
Or you can use any containers you have and put more ordinary food into them!
- A full bento box! You don`t have to be 100% authentic, of course, just the principles of packing maximum nutrition in minimum space are what`s important here. There are only about a million blogs covering this, and that is just the English ones! Here is a few that have really popped out at me: Just Bento, Judy`s Bento Box, Adventures in Bentomaking, (2nd photo credits to Adven. in Bento Mak.) and Another Lunch. If you are wondering why all the bloggers seem to be moms, you needn`t fear that only kids are fit to have bentos. All ages eat them in Japan and the U.S., mothers are just known to be a ton of effort into making cute bentos and even creating food pictures for their children. Some parents show off by putting their kids through pageants or ballet, some show off by spending hours making something that will be eaten in fifteen minutes. I think every parent does something weird to show how proud they are of their kids. Maybe that`s why my parents talk about me and my ‘great skill’ at writing to their friends. (They`re convinced I`ll be a real published author someday, you see.)
What do you eat when you are on the go? Do you have any favorite go to choices, or is your favorite on the run snack just a coffee or pastry from a cafe? How
do your parents brag about you, or you brag about yourself through your kids?