If you are like me, there is hardly a day all year that you would go shopping all day long. Every year, though, there is usually one day, during the Jesus’ Birthday Season that I will spend a day trying to get it all done at once. A day like that can really throw your normal eating schedule into a storm.
If you plan your shopping day out, there really isn’t any reason that your diet has to take a day off. Spending a day at the mall is only different from spending a day at work in that you will be tempted by all of the fast-food and snack eateries that surround you during your shopping day. Avoiding ad hoc or impulse eating is the entire goal of your meal plan for the day.
First, you need to eat breakfast, some kind of breakfast, or you are lost right out of the gate. The best thing for me is one piece of whole fruit, unpeeled, two eggs cooked hard and either home made Canadian Bacon or regular bacon. It’s not much food, but it is quick to make and holds me from 6 AM to noon on a regular workday. I drink coffee with breakfast, but water or tea would work just as well.. No sugar in anything but the fruit.
Lunch will be harder to plan for, like it always is. At work I heat up leftovers from a previous day’s dinner and that is not an option when out and about. Nothing at the mall qualifies as ‘non-processed’ foods. If I am really ambitious I can bring along a container of muesli to snack on, and a flask of water to wash it down, but that’s more to carry, and I will be honest, I wouldn’t do that. All I have a good chance of avoiding at lunch is sugar and industrially produced bread. No buns, no sweetened drinks. If I have a fast food taco I can eat the fillings and leave the shells, a double cheeseburger with all the fixings is a hamburger salad if you don’t eat the bun. These are just ideas, of course, and it’s only one meal. Give doing it different some thought, try it out.
Avoiding drinks on the road is pretty hard to do, too. You will get thirsty, you won’t have a canteen of water on you. If you are dedicated you might buy a big bottle of water, pay too much for it, and contribute to the plastics industry. We have to make choices, and all things considered, those crimes are less immediate than buying a big Coke from a fountain. There are drinking fountains at the mall, but who knows where? Maybe there is one by the bathroom. It’s probably going to be bottled water, in the best-case scenario.
If you go buy a coffee stand you are going to want some. All I can say is, don’t get anything fancy, you don’t want any whipped cream or flavored syrups, really. The coffee smells good, not the sweeteners. I like a mocha as much as the next guy, I love my starbucks anything, but I really just want a cup of what smells so good, and drinking it black or with cream only is enough to satisfy that craving. I swear.
So, anyway, use your holiday shopping spree as a chance to practice your ‘life on the road’ routine. If you have any better ideas, because you actually live the pure life on the road, please leave your advice in the comments for all of us!