I can’t get over this. And apparently they are amazing. Thank you Christina for cluing me in on this.
Back to regular programming.
On Wednesday, I went through some of my Staples for getting through ridiculously busy and extremely long shifts. But I saved some of my favorites for today! Although in theory these are not “strange” per se (jerky, pretzels, candy), I wanted to focus on SPECIFIC versions of typical snack fare for those of us who a) have digestive issues b) have heightened nutritional requirements c) are insane.
I hope you all find a new source of treats to try out, and that they work for you!
Susie’s Top 5 #Strangebutgood Snacking Favorites For Working Girls (and boys, I guess)
Warning: though they are amazing, these should only be eaten if you have the ability to clean up and get things out of your teeth. So, I happen to love jerky, but it is NO BUENO for my stomach. Even a little bit will cause major cramping for me. Enter: Vegan jerky in amazing flavors, with amazing stats. Get yourself a sample pack to try all of the flavors and rotate them. I love love love the mesquite lime and the hickory smoked, but they are all great. The only one I haven’t delved into is the hot and spicy, not because I don’t think I could handle it, but for the breath factor. All of these are 70ish-100 calories and around 10 g protein. They will make your hands smell, though (like popcorn), you will want a napkin as you eat (they are wet, not dry, jerky), and a toothpick afterwards, but they will fill you up immediately and for a good while.
2) Kay’s Naturals Snacks
So I discovered Kay’s Naturals through a sample pack of Gluten-Free goodies my mom received. She got the mac and cheese protein puffs, and I really like them! The other day, I came across them again, and ordered a box of the Protein Pretzels in jalapeno honey mustard. The stats are fabulous, you get a truly satisfying number of them per pack (but not too much, or, as is the case with the mini-pretzel bags, can be eaten over time), and they are really, really tasty. The flavor isn’t overly strong, so don’t be scared–not spicy at all. And unlike some flavored things, they are not messy at all. I will DEFINITELY be continuing to get these.
3) FRS Chews and Sport Beans (regular, Extreme, and protein)
This is a marathon, right? Gotta know your fuel!! Seriously! I work long hours, late at night, and when I need some caffeine but don’t have time for a drink/would rather hydrate with water, FRS to the rescue! About 20 mg caffeine per one, so fine for me to have later at night (knowing that, at some point, I will want to sleep), tasty, and a known entity for me (I use them on runs, too). Because the caffeine is lesser, I also don’t crash like I would from coffee, or get SUPERDUPERAMPEDSERVEALLTHEMARGARITASSELLALLTHETACOSHIMYNAMEISSUSIEIWILLBETAKINGCAREOFYOUHAVEYOUJOINEDUSBEFOREHAHAHAHAHAHA.
You understand. Also, less likely to make me have to pee constantly. And quick to eat, or, in the case of Sport Beans, can be taken over time. The Protein Sport Beans are pretty baller, too. I would also include Starburst and Tootsie Rolls in my compendium of quickie boosts 😀 Also running go-toos.
3.5) Ginger Chews, mints, etc
Again, your stomach can get a bit bothered by all of the things your are or aren’t putting into it. Ginger is proven to have a soothing effect on the stomach, and, though I do not care for crystallized ginger (too acutely spicy to have all at once–overloads your palate), I SWEAR by Chimes and Reed’s ginger chews. Reed’s are a bit bigger, and typically harder to chew. I think Chimes are my favorite, and I love the mango-ginger. Actually, I never go for a long run without taking a ginger chew about 10-15 minutes before I start, and I always take one with me. Not a major source of fuel, but a nice mental pick-me-up with subtle impacts on mood and nutrition. Also, I love love Newman’s Own Ginger mints and TJ’s ginger mints.
4) Sweet Potato
Sweet potato (or squash/something like that) is a great option because it can be eaten in spurts, left at room temp (for the most part), doesn’t get stuck in your teeth or give you creepy breath, and you can flavor it up. I’ll usually take half of a small one in and pre-season it with a little salt and butter and then maybe some honey mustard, cinnamon, bbq, PB, brown sugar, bacon bits, maple syrup, all of the above (on separate sides). My coworkers think I’m weird. I don’t care. You guys likely won’t, but then you are #strangebutgood like me.
5) Protein Creations
Muffins are good and tasty, but a muffin from Starbucks is a crash waiting to happen. And they are HUGE and messy. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat, unless you also have time for a latte. Which you likely don’t. I say “creation” because this category includes breads, muffins, cookies, what have you. They are transportable, you can make mini-ones to pop, and unlike many energy bites or whatever, you are not relying wholly on dates (sugar bomb) and such for energy. These are more about satisfaction and lasting power. I hope to get more of my creation recipes up in the near future, but for now, please check out my Power Breads and reference other great bloggers who post these types of things all the time.
So let’s put all of this together:
My work locker contains (and I replenish as needed):
- 3-4 different types of bars (gotta have back up)
- Mini bag(s) of popcorn/popchips/pretzels (lighter options in case I just need calories) and saltines
- Travel tub of cereal
- Back-up pack of almonds
- Back-up jerky
- To-go squeezy thing of PB
When I pack my bag for work, I make sure I have:
- 1-2 bars (variety and if I want a more- or less-dense option)–usually a high protein bar (like NuGo or Balance) and less-filling one (like the Kind bars)
- Pretzels (reg or protein) or popcorn
- String cheese
- Almond pack (until recently, when I ran out 🙁 )
- Optional: candy, tic-tacs, 1-2 packs of saltines/oyster crackers, and maybe an apple.
During the course of the night, I will eat all of those things (except for maybe the apple and crackers–those are more for back up) in addition to:
- untold number of garnishes from the bar (pear slices, strawberries, pineapple, cucumber ribbons, orange slices)
- chips/lavash crackers (everywhere and plentiful and salty and yes)
- the odd special (we have to try them) and misfired dish (score! free food)
- candy if someone brings it in
- a sample of comida (family meal)
- countless teaspoon-sized amounts of drinks all night long (we have to test for quality control. I am ok with that).
Depending on where I am stationed in the restaurant, I will have more/less opportunity to eat, so I have become really good at knowing what I can sneak in, and how much I need to take in to make it through.
But my food odyssey is not over when I leave work. DO YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ME??????? Hello, have I mentioned ice cream yet?
During the summer, I walk home every night, and often make a pit stop at the fro-yo place that is on my route. During the winter, not-gonna-happen. Also, during the summer, I typically eat more during the earlier part of the day (due to my scheduling and running-training requiring more replenishing earlier on), so a big-boy froyo and an english muffin with jam and pb suffices for last meal. During the winter, I have found myself eating less earlier in the day and more later on, so my last meal often is just as substantial as any other time of day. (I have breakfast, snack, lunch, and a snack/preshift meal every day in addition to what I eat at the restaurant).
“Last meal” includes some form of each of the following:
- carb (english muffin, sweet potato, toast, bagel, oatmeal),
- protein (eggs, chicken/turkey, TVP),
- Ice Cream awesomeness (ice cream, sprinkles, cereal, cinnamon, cayenne, a pinch salt)
*healthy fat (nuts or PB on the carb or on my ice cream)
I have to mention that my eating habits have really shifted over the past year, particularly working in restaurants, and in this particular restaurant. At Orzo, it was a completely open space, so there was ABSOLUTELY no eating in small increments during shift. I at before, once during, and then after. So my meals were more substantial earlier in the day. At my current job, I have more opportunity to get in little pieces of lovin. So I do. I will say that if I am working a double (lunch and dinner), my meals revert back to being actual meals (my meal mid-pm will resemble my last meal of the day).
Again, this is what works for me, right now, in this moment. Is it a perfect plan? No. Could I be better about spacing things throughout the day? Sure. But does it keep me energized and healthy while satisfying my needs and cravings? Yup.
I hope that this glance into my diet on crazy days is helpful for those of you who also are constantly on the go.
Any fun snacks/brands that you love and would like to share? How does working impact your eating?