Ever since college, I have been infamous for being "the girl with the snacks."
I mean, it's not the worst thing I could be known for, right?
When I studied abroad, my classmates always knew that wherever we were each weekend: on a beach in Italy, on a pilgrimage in Poland...you could count on me to have a protein bar, piece of fruit, or full jar of peanut butter on hand.
Just last month at the Spartan Race, I was passing a fellow participant who looked like he was about to cry, throw up, or pass out during the log carry obstacle. He was sitting on his log looking utterly pathetic when I asked him if he was OK. He told me he was starving as he had a bagel for breakfast and packed nothing else for this 14+ mile excursion.
In true Brittany fashion, I had an extra bar in my bag.
You would have thought I had tossed the guy keys to a new Bugatti, not a Blueberry Crisp Clif Bar, the way he lit up like a Christmas tree.
Even though I have never experienced true starvation and have always been privileged to have food available to me, I always worry I will be hungry.
If there was a meeting at work, I'd bring a protein bar in my tote in case it went late. Every time I leave the house, even to go to church less than a mile away, I bring a water bottle. I can be on the way to meeting someone FOR A MEAL and I will have almonds in the diaper bag "just in case."
As silly as it sounds, fearing that food will be unavailable to me in some situation has led me to a POSITIVE habit for my overall health: packing snacks!
Although I don't recommend training yourself to fear possible hunger in order to adopt this habit, I DO highly recommend always having some go-to, healthy snacks on your person at all times.
When you are unprepared, you are more likely to make poor decisions.
For example, the parent that was supposed to be running the carpool today canceled and you suddenly have to go right from work to pick-up four kids from a basketball game and then deliver them all to their abodes.
You had no idea that was going to happen so you had no food with you. By the last drop-off, you are positively hangry (hungry + angry) and just want to get home. Upon getting home, you eat everything in the kitchen while waiting for the other food you are making for dinner to cook.
Ahhh...many times have I eaten two bowls of cereal while waiting for a home-made pizza in the oven to bake.
Not the best of choices.
If you always have a stash of non-perishables like almonds or certain non-melty types of bars in your car or bag, you can avoid this scenario in the future.
Yes, a parent might flake and you have to cover but you can nosh on some handfuls of trail mix while running your route to avoid eating 5,000 calories of cookies when you get home.
Another great reason to have something at the ready is if you find yourself in a situation where there are no healthy options available.
Every time there was a professional development I had to attend where "food was provided" but the menu was not privy to me beforehand, I either packed an entire back-up lunch, or at the very least threw an apple and a protein bar in my bag for insurance purposes.
Don't put yourself in a situation where you HAVE to eat something you know is terrible for you just because you don't want to deal with a growling stomach.
It's never an inconvenience to bring a snack you don't eat, but it is always inconvenient to be hungry and have nothing on hand.
The best defense is a good offense: bring food and eat when you are hungry!
At the very least, you might make some friends by being "the girl with the snacks."