Eating Well at the Con
Running GAGG is rapidly approaching at the end of January, and the pre-registration for GenCon also opens up near the end of this month.
Time to start prepping for this year’s conventions!
One thing I have been taking into consideration this year is my own eating habits at conventions. Inevitably, I experience some sort of digestive inconvenience at a convention caused by a combination of traveling, eating foods I don’t normally eat and not getting enough water. These inconveniences range from “Gosh, I feel a little uncomfortable” to “Oh God, get me to the bathroom/Oh God, my body has forgotten how to bathroom.”
To minimize this discomfort so that I can get maximum enjoyment from conventions, I’ve developed a plan.
Cannot emphasize this enough. Bring a Nalgene and keep filling up on water. You will get more dehydrated than you think because you’ll be out and about pretty much all day each day of the con, and you’re going to be walking around between events. During the hot summer months, dehydrating poses an even greater danger. So skip the sodas and drink some water.
2. Eat Breakfast
If your hotel serves breakfast, take advantage of that. When I get to the con, I am always moving from one event to the next until someone in my group decides it is time to stop and plan a relatively short dinner together before a late night game (usually a LARP!) Getting a good breakfast under your belt before the day of games begins is essential to your con enjoyment. A healthy breakfast will help you concentrate and give you strength as your day progresses, and concentration is vital for those problem-solving skills in-game when your character has to figure out a solution to various situations that may come up. Eating breakfast is also going to help you make better food choices throughout the day especially when it comes to…
The time between breakfast and gamer group dinner is a long wait indeed. There will be snacks. I can’t remember ever going to a game where absolutely nobody at the table brought something to snack on.
However, instead of getting delicious but ultimately un-fulfilling fare such as Doritos, Cheetos and candy, there are a variety of snacks you can bring to the con that can taste great, keep you healthy, and give you more bang for your buck:
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables– Just because you are traveling to a con doesn’t mean you have to entirely give up fresh produce. Carrots, celery and sugar snap peas travel well, especially if you have a cooler for the drive and a fridge in your hotel room. Apples are also a great option. Oranges and bananas too.
Veggie Chips– Veggie chips can be a good snack too as long as you do your research a little. I’d avoid things like veggie straws, anything that seems overly processed or is packed with sodium. I’ve tried Boulder Canyon Hummus Chips before– pretty good. The Terra veggie chips, made out of sliced vegetables, are also pretty decent though I find them a bit saltier. A favorite I’ve discovered fairly recently are Trader Joe’s Inner Peas which are basically baked whole peas.
Clif/Luna Bars– These are pretty good in a pinch when you want something a little more filling on the go.
Almonds– Unsalted or only a little salt is the ticket.
Prunes– I don’t really like prunes that much, but they have their benefits. Necessary, wonderful benefits. You can always get prunes that have a bit of orange taste to them!
If I get hungry during the day, I eat a small snack every couple of hours or so that prevents me from overeating or making poor choices. Plus, I get the benefits of the healthier snack instead of the Doritos. It is also WAY less expensive than snacks at the con vendors.
4. Sitting Down for Dinner with your Friends
You need a time during the con to take a breath, put up your feet, and relax with some good food and good friends. I have some excellent memories just from having dinner with my gamer friends during the con. This is the time of the day when I will treat myself to a beer and pair it with something relatively healthy on the menu.
With all that being said though… sometimes it is totally okay to cut loose once in a great while. If you are at a con and you need a cheat day, make it count.
I sure have.