I get asked a lot about how to stay healthy with a busy schedule, when you don’t have time to cook and there aren’t healthy options around. There are so many tricks to staying healthy on the road, but one that I use regularly (on the road or not), is to always have an emergency snack on me. I err towards the hypoglycemic side, so it’s important for me to always have food on hand. But another main reason I carry an emergency snack is because I know how important it is to ALWAYS have a healthy option. For me, these are usually something like an Rx bar, an Epic bar, or maybe a healthy trail mix with dried fruit and nuts.
This is about more than just having nourishing food on hand. When your stomach is empty, it produces a hormone called ghrelin which then sends a signal to your brain that you need to eat food. The stronger the hunger, the louder the message “I NEED TO EAT NOW”. Your body is incredibly smart, it knows that if you’re really hungry, the fastest way to curb that hunger is to get fast acting carbohydrates in your body. Simple carbohydrates are quickly converted to glucose and will raise your blood sugar in a hurry – therefore satisfying your brain’s immediate need for food. Ok, whoah, why the science lesson. Because I think it’s important to know that when you get really hungry, your brain is no longer making rational, intentional food decisions. Instead, it is being influenced by what it thinks the body needs right now, and right now the body just needs energy, so it sends you signals to eat…….you guessed it…..JUNK! Those quick and easy microwave meals, the drive-through, the grab and go – all the quickest route to that satiation.
Here’s the catch, though. If you have a plan for when you find yourself in that hungry state, your emergency snack will do the same trick as those convenient foods, and will likely even keep you satiated much longer after you’ve finished eating. You don’t have to reach for those unhealthy choices just because your brain is tricking you into doing so. Be prepared with your emergency or safety snack so you can give your body what it really needs – NUTRIENTS.
Here are some things you might want to look for in an emergency or safety snack:
Some protein – will help with satiety
Some fat – will help with satiety
Minimal to NO processing – avoid those simple carbohydrates that will do nothing but quickly convert to glucose and then become stored as fat
Minimal to no dietary (or added) sugar – same reason as above
Healthy, Happy, Healing