An introduction to a series of posts that you will see over time. (Yes, this is endurance ride relevant - think of packing food for endurance rides like packing a series of lunches)
This question has vexed me most of my life - at least since my mom stopped packing a paper bag lunch with a marker picture on it, sometime in high school.
I'm notorious about "forgetting" to pack a lunch. I'm not hungry, actually borderline nauseous, most mornings and I'm not sure what miracle I expect to occur once lunch time rolls around and I'm at work or school. That since I'm not hungry in the morning I won't be at noon? That somehow the random banana and other carby thing that I did throw in the backpack will take me until 6p? That manna from the sky will rain down at an opportune moment full of nutritious goodness?
Needless to say, I end up VERY hungry, read to consume whatever happens to come across my path whether it's pizza at a lunch meeting, fast food milkshakes and fries on the way home, or cookies out of the vending machine. It costs me money, it costs my nutrition, and it costs me my health. Not to mention that eating junk and/or not eating at all during the day caused me to overeat during dinner.
Switching to a mainly protein and vegetable based diet and eliminating most non-fruit or lactose based carbs just complicated the issue. Some people can pack a salad and eat it for lunch, but the idea repulsives me --> salad for dinner yes, salad for lunch no. It's amazing how hard a lunch is to pack without the use of bread, processed food, that doesn't lean too heavily on any one food group (too much fruit, or too much cheese etc.).
Starting vet school a year ago didn't help and contributed to the issue. I'm less active, have less money, less time, and less energy to devote to my nutritional needs and packing a lunch that works.
Last year, my first year in vet school, was an experiment in lunch failure. I tried brining left overs each day. I tried bringing a whole bag of groceries and just keeping food at school. For various reasons, none of these options worked and I ended the year heavier than I had ever been.
Over the summer my cousin posted a link on facebook that completely changed how I looked packing lunches and packing meals in general. It was a smug mug album of lunches packed in divided containers. A light bulb went on! This would really work!
I've employed this system over the summer while commuting and working full time. It's worked like a charm. In the last 2 months I've lost over 9 pounds. I've managed to bring a lunch every single day, and my nutrition is more balanced and consistent than it has ever been.
Here's why I think this system works for me:
-Packing a predetermined container makes sure I bring the right amount of food. The container holds 500-700 calories generally - enough to keep me full from breakfast to dinner.
-Having all my food layed out and easily seen. It's impossible for me to only pack fruit because it's easy for me to see visually that I'm missing a main dish or protein. This is especially important for me to remember as I'm packing for an endurance ride.
-It makes it easy for me to bring food that comforms to my "dietary rules" and avoid the more processed food and carbs.
-I actually eat everything I bring instead of eating my favorite parts and ignoring the squished, slightly warm celery sticks at the bottom of of the lunch sack.
-This system makes it very easy for me to pack several lunches at a time, saving time.
This isn't just for lunches!!!!!
This works for ANY event that is going to require you to bring meals. Endurance rides? Easily package meals this way and throw in the ice chest. Having a variety of food that is easily accessible during vet checks is the only way I can consume enough calories. Bluegrass festivals? Travelling and odn't want to be at the mercy of fast food? Packaging your meals like this will make sure you bring enough food, and make it easily accessible without thinking - you preplanned that the amount of kinds of food when you were sane and not overcome with tiredness, fatigue, and hunger.
My hope is that by regularly posting some examples of some of my lunches, I can inspire someone to move on from the boring sandwich/salad/apple meals on the go. Save some money, eat how you really want, and eliminate the hassels of trying to feed yourself during events. This is the longest post since I wanted to provide some background. Important concepts to keep in mind as we explore the world of the reformed lunch are:
-Calories in my lunch box meals are typically 500-800 calories or so. This works perfectly with my average breakfast and dinner meals, but you may want to adjust accordingly
-The composition of my meals is typically wheat and yeast free and lower in carbs, higher in fat. Again, this are just suggestions so you should adjust to your preferences!
-If you have an especially inspiring lunch, especially if it works for ride food, please send a picture!
This is a example of the type of container that I use (was able to find it at Target) except mine is a ziploc brand:
Two days of heavy rains, flash flood warnings
10 hours ago