Carol (Missy) Cohen MPH, CHHC

Don’t get trapped by a food emergency!

As the holidays approach and we start running more errands and traveling to friends and relatives houses, help yourself and your waistline by avoiding a “food emergency.”

Many of us have found ourselves in this situation. You are out and about and found out that whatever errand you were doing took longer than you expected. The next thing you know, you are standing in line and staring at the candy bars. Or you are running through a fast food place because you are starving and your blood sugar is crashing. You might have a headache or be shaky and know that something, anything in your stomach will make you feel better.

This is where carrying an emergency snack pack is key for your health and your budget. Even if you are just running out the door to “pick up a couple of things.” You end up stopping to talk to the neighbor. There is traffic on the way to the store. Whatever. The next thing you know, your “quick errand” is taking over an hour and breakfast was a long time ago.

So what should you pack?

At a minimum, be sure to always have a piece of portable fruit such as an apple or a banana and a container of nuts. If you are going to be away from home for longer, pack accordingly. Some options are:

  • Wild salmon in a can – This is a great source of Omega-3 fats and very portable. Also, choose wild salmon over some other fish because it contains less pesticides than farmed fish. You can also throw it in your bag and forget about it for quite a while. You might be really happy on the night that the train gets stuck on your way home or traffic is backed up that you had the foresight to do this. Be sure to pack utensils to eat it with and make sure that you don’t need a can opener to open it.
  • Nuts – This is my favorite go to snack. Walnuts are also high in Omega-3 fats and a great source of protein. These are not quite as portable as canned food but if you eat it within a week or so, they travel really well.
  • Cut up raw veggies and hummus – Obviously this is a little more than just throwing a snack in your bag but having vegetables and hummus on hand can fill in for any meal at any time. Be sure to pack this snack with a cold pack and, if you don’t eat it right away, be sure to change out the cold pack.
  • Fruit – Many fruits come in their own little containers and travel well. Apples are great when your blood sugar starts to crash and they can last in your bag for a couple of weeks if necessary.

To maintain, or regain, your health, do not buy your food where you buy your gasoline, in a fast food line, or at the checkout of a store. Eat real, whole foods as provided for by nature. With a little planning and effort, you can avoid the sugary, processed items that pass themselves off as food and have more energy to go out after your errands are done to do something fun.

What’s in your emergency food pack? I’d love to hear from you!



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