Handling Unplanned Eating Scenarios
We’ve all been there… You were running late in the morning so you didn’t have time to make that healthy lunch you were planning on taking to work.
“Not to worry” you think.
“There is a great deli round the corner from the office that does delicious salads.”
Little did you know that at almost 3pm you are still stuck in that strategy meeting that started at 11:30am and you are ravenous. You’ve not eaten since 6:30am and your hunger pangs are starting to take over.
Your blood sugar levels are low
You are becoming tired and irritable
Your brain is screaming “GIVE ME FOOD!”
At this stage you really don’t care what you eat, hence it becomes an ‘Unplanned Eating Scenario’ or UES. You are quite happy to eat whatever comes to hand as long as it quietens your hunger.
I’m ashamed to admit this happened to me a few weeks ago. At 3pm I still hadn’t eaten, and with another meeting about to start, I had managed to locate a rather old ‘chewy bar’ at the bottom of my bag, and grabbed a ‘fun size’ packet of Haribo from the reception desk of the office I was visiting. Not exactly the best way to fuel my body, or to start another meeting.
I was perfectly aware that nothing since breakfast, then a complete sugar spike would leave me feeling even more tired, irritable, and sluggish in about an hour or two’s time. The only way I could possibly limit the impending damage was by drinking plenty of water throughout my next meeting to help flush the sugars out. Not ideal, but I felt trapped between a rock and a hard place.
With increasingly busy lives and not always being able to control our day as exactly as we like, it is even more important that we consume the right nutrition to keep us satiated and provide the nutrients that we need to keep us going and provide us with good energy.
As delightful as it would be to keep hummus and crudités in your bag as a snack, as some magazines suggest, it’s not always practical.
If you are visiting clients all day, you aren’t going to have access to a fridge, and no-one likes warm hummus and carrots, and to date I have not found a cool pack that will keep items sufficiently chilled for nine hours.
Fruits such as apples, oranges, and bananas are great from a satiation perspective, plus provide fibre, vitamin c (apples & oranges), vitamin B6 and potassium (bananas). They are easy to transport and withstand a reasonable amount of bashing around in your bag (providing they are not too ripe to start with!).
Mixed nuts (preferably raw and unsalted) are also a great and filling snack. Although arguably high in fats, nuts also contain a lot of fibre, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin E (almonds), selenium (brazil nuts), iron and zinc (cashew), omega 3 and the highest amount of mono-unstaurates (walnuts). Small bags of raw mixed nuts can be easily found in supermarkets – a 30g portion is sufficient per snack, and these small packs can easily be kept in your bag as an emergency.
Everyone gets caught out once in a while but lets not make this a habit. There are ways and means that we can avoid a UES with minimal preparation.