Be a Boy Scout

Always prepared, that is.

Finally free from Saturday classes for the summer, we headed up to the University District Farmer’s Market, which I was quite excited about. See, I even dressed for it:

Alas, we missed the farmer’s market, because it took forEVER to accomplish our other mission…finding the two buildings that my summer organic chemistry class will be held in. I’ve only been on the University of Washington campus a few times, and forgot how big it is. We logged a good few miles of walking, and that was on top of the 4.5 mile run-walk we did shortly after sunrise, and my leg-centric weight training workout shortly thereafter. Whew!

We made it back to the farmers market…just as they were shutting down. Forgot they closed at 2. C’est la vie. I was left with visions of farm-fresh beets dancing in my head instead of weighting down my reusable market tote, but at least I didn’t fall down in one area…lunch.

I’ve become used to packing food around with me when I’m running between structured activities with a quantified time and place (primarily the home-work-school trifecta), but I’ve been so harnessed to those three places that I haven’t had to come up with a satisfactory answer to the question: “How do I ensure good nutrition when I’m out and about on a loose schedule?”

Since I made a commitment to myself to stick 100 percent to a nutrition plan and training schedule for the duration of the Burn the Fat Summer Challenge (more on this tomorrow), I wasn’t going to allow myself to fall prey to whatever food might be available. And I certainly wasn’t to go hungry. And I knew we’d be gone more than long enough to have one meal period come and go. I considered fitting in a lunch run to Chipotle or Whole Foods, but those ideas didn’t satisfy me. Then fate, in the form of the American Heart Association website, of all things, intervened with the perfect recipe for a packalong lunch. I may be the wrong gender to be a Boy Scout, but I would be prepared.

The Chicken Rotini Salad with Rosemary was a huge hit. Especially since I had all of the ingredients on hand (except for the blue cheese, but I substituted feta and it was great). I love that when I spy an interesting recipe and I don’t have to go shopping for it! It’s like kismet, or something.

The moral of this story is (beside double-checking farmers market hours), that when you’re serious about eating right, you don’t leave things to chance. Get yourself a small personal-size cooler or insulated tote and use it! When you’re going to be away from home for more than a few hours, think about how that impacts your usual meal times. If you are pretty sure you’ll need to eat while you’re out, bring your nutrition with you. It’s less expensive than eating out, and pretty much guaranteed to be healthier.

I always pack meals and snacks with me. When hunger strikes and I have my salad and chicken or fruit and nuts or muesli and yogurt or hummus and veggies or string cheese or hardboiled egg with me, I feel mighty glad…and more than a little virtuous! Yes, it takes some forethought and a little advance prep, but the results are worth it.