An Ounce of Pre-planning Keeps You Healthy and Frisky!
I BRING them with me to work and times of play in a food bag—I’m willing to go to any length because I can easily overeat when I get over hungry and when there is no healthy food available. I kept hoping that healthful foods would just fall out of the sky for me, but that didn’t happen!
This one tool, my food bag (affectionately referred to as Bob’s Strength-Training Food Bag on account of its incredible weight), helps me eat whenever I’m hungry and to stop when I’m just satisfied. I’ve used this tool for 30 years. I don’t eat everything in it within the course of a day; however, my carrying it with me provides me with healthful food choices and guarantees I will make it throughout the day without nagging hunger, which could lead me to purchasing fat-enhancing and unhealthy snacks.
Even though I can see the value of this now, it took me quite awhile to be willing to bring foods with me. In 1979 I had just graduated school in dietetics and was working on a new job as a food service supervisor in a hospital kitchen. The kitchen had a wonderful bakery and it was my job to sample the foods before they were sent up to the patients. I could have all of the food that I wanted. Since I could sample the foods for free, I didn’t bring my meals and snacks along with me.
As my diaries showed, on many occasions, one bite led to another: On one Wednesday evening: “I was fighting the desire for sweets all day until 4:30 pm when I tasted 1 cookie in the bakery–> 4 more–>4 brownies–> 2 cookies–>2 chocolate milks–>10 raw cookie dough balls–> 2 candy bars as I went out the door. Oops, I did it again. I need help.” And later in that week on Saturday evening: “I was tired so I ate 5 pieces of pecan pie from tray line. I told myself I was tired and the pie would give me energy. It didn’t!”
I went through countless experiments like this until I realized at a deep level that free food comes with a profound cost to me. I could, at last, see the value of bringing a food bag along with a variety of snacks and foods for mealtime. I clearly saw it would be best NOT to sample all of the foods in the kitchen. I ultimately decided to work in the diet office and to get out of the kitchen because that environment was too stimulating for me.
How I Do It
I have a canvas outer bag (actually a Sears tool bag, cost $9) with double-thick paper shopping bags (like the picture below) inside of the canvas. That acts as insulation to keep the foods cold. I also use frozen bread for sandwiches when it is HOT outside. I find that foods will easily keep cold for 5 hours or more this way. You could also just bring along a insulated cooler.
I keep napkins, plastic silverware, plastic bags, and of course, lots of different foods! I also keep a meditation book so that I can take time to “nourish my spirit.”
A fun thing to do is to write a message on a green banana and mail it to a friend. Just wrap it in a tissue paper, put it in a small box and mail it. When it arrives at its destination, it will have ripened to its normal yellow color and greet its recipient with cheery tidings. You’ve heard of F.T.D. florists? Well, this is B.T.D. banana—Banana Trans Delivery! A sample message could be, “My love has ripened for you.” Or “You drive me bananas.” Or “I find you so appealing.”
I keep a meditation book in my lunch bag so that I can take time to “nourish my spirit.” I may bring along some sticky notes (or bananas) with affirming messages from Nourishing Affirmations! and find that these can help really make my day. They are fuel for my soul and lift me up when I feel drooped. When I’m feeling the need to be embraced by kindness, I review Loving-Kindness: Learn to Befriend Ourselves and Others. If I’m feeling really confused I look at Out of Hell, Into Freedom Thoughts.
For a printable version On-The-Go Packed Lunches.pdf
I will bring along: leftovers from meals in plastic containers, raw veggies in bags, various salads in yogurt containers, different kinds of raw fruit, Mexican-flavored soy beans, raw nuts, dried fruits, and yogurt with fruit added, (pay a visit to Nutritious and Yummy Snacks, Lunches, OR Quick Vegetarian Main Dish Ideas, Quick Menu Ideas for Home and On the Go,and Stoveless Meals for additional ideas). I frequently take along sandwiches to eat. Fillings may be: tofu pate, hummus (or garbanzo spread) or other bean spread, low fat cheese, soy meats or low-fat pastrami or ham, tuna, turkey breast, or salmon salad.
I keep non-perishable foods in the bag at all times: various dried fruits, raw nuts, soy beans, and soy jerky, candied ginger, and crackers.
I put together the foods in the A.M. (but you certainly could do it the night before). It takes only a few minutes. I then have enough food with me for all the day’s meals and snacks.
When I’m hungry, I can listen to my body and eat. That saves me from getting too hungry and then overeating. It also saves me from the temptation of raiding the vending machines at work, and saves lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!
What’s inside the bag?
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Remember Food For the Spirit!
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