Friday, April 9, 2010

Snacks: The Drama Llama Strikes

My taxes are being held hostage by an accountant who tells me her son is sick with H1N1 and refuses to answer my email and calls. The local grocery is closed for remodeling and I have to drive to a different store, which is always irritating because the shelves are arranged differently. Contractors with pneumatic nails guns are crawling over the back of my house putting up a new deck. And there's one or two other things I could mention, but nobody needs those images -- trust me.

The drama llama has struck and I'm starving and I don't have time to be fixing special snowflake food.

Having appropriate snacks in a crisis is important. Stress can make us hungry as well as give us the urge to gnaw on a fencepost out of frustration. Without having provisions, you're liable to end up eating crap that doesn't fill you up and only makes the stress that much worse. The psychological aspect of an appropriate snack is also key. In the history of the world, no woman has ever had her heart broken and said, "I just want to sit on the couch and eat carrot sticks!"

Healthful, filling, psychologically satisfying. You can do this.

Avocados: They contain fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. Their healthy fats make them deliciously creamy. More importantly, if you mash them up with cocoa powder, soaked dates, and a few other ingredients, you get chocolate mousse.

But if that seems like too much trouble, then go light: slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, squeeze a bit of lemon or lime on each half, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Turkey roll-ups: Forget about the tortilla wraps and wrap your fillings in a slice of turkey -- a teaspoon of salad dressing and lettuce leaves, a bit of hummus and a green onion, or just plain spicy brown mustard and a bit of cheese. Turkey is is low in fat and high in protein, a great source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. Just make sure your source is gluten-free (YES they put wheat in deli meat. Usually as part of a cheap spice blend) and doesn't have a lot of weird chemicals and sweeteners.

Boiled eggs: The Incredible Edible Egg -- The ultimate in portable snacks! A good source of riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and phosphorus, and a very good source of protein and selenium, if you're worried about saturated fat and cholesterol, don't eat the yolk. Dip them in salt-free herb blends.

Have you seen the cute bento egg shapers? Smacking an egg and peeling it is a great tension reliever!

Nuts: Plain, raw nuts. Almonds, specifically, but also pecans, walnuts, and Brazil nuts from the shell (the ones you buy in bulk are old and rancid. If you think you hate Brazil nuts, that's probably why)Nuts are a higher-fat food,but it's mostly heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and they have protein. Two tablespoons of almond butter with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon feels like a very decadent treat.

There is a difference between stress eating (OMG CHEEZY POUFS!) and having a snack because the activity of your day has worn you down and you need fuel.Some might say that these are (*gasp*) high-fat foods and you will gain weight! But when you are really stressy and hungry, you need more than a carrot stick. I keep my portion sizes small on all these snacks -- one avocado, one slice of turkey, one egg, or 1/4 cup of nuts.

Food doesn't solve anything except hunger, and more is not necessarily better. When things are stressy, you need to stop and take breaks. Sometimes creative visualization can calm your nerves... like imagining how you'll shave the drama llama and knit a sweater.

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