In this episode of Con Survival week we’re going to talk about something that is dear to all of us, food! I know that when I go to a convention it’s one of those things that’s on the top of my list. I know some of you will sacrifice food for game, but after reading this you might just start enjoying the best of both worlds at your conventions. After all it’s one of the most important things you can do. The rest of this articles is briefly going to discuss why you need to eat, how to eat on a budget that will allow you to afford at least one cool meal a day.
If you’re like me then your convention schedule is just packed full of cool things to do. It is very difficult, at times, to slow down long enough to eat. You might think that is actually a good idea to make you enjoy the show more, actually it’s one of the worst things you can do for your enjoyment. If you’re reading this I bet your a gamer and gamers need to think. If you don’t eat your body doesn’t process enough glucose for you to make good decisions and you make slower decisions. I don’t know all of the details, but it basically works like this you eat some food, your body processes it and your brain has fuel for roughly four to six hours. After that your liver kicks in and starts some complicated stuff to balance your system. With that said this isn’t any kind of diet advice, it is merely what I do at conventions. You should always consult your physician when it comes to your diet. Especially, if you have experienced any health concerns.
With that knowledge, what can we do to help our brain? Well we can eat more food (healthy food). This is where we kind of get into working on a budget, because it involves things like packing snacks and maybe even some quick lunches. I’ve decided to talk about each meal separately, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
I think that it’s a must to get a free breakfast at the hotel you are staying with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot breakfast or a continental breakfast because you a can always supplement it with something like a protein shake. I look at it like this I need energy and I can’t wait til noon to get it.
I almost always pack food to save money for conventions. I mean eating out three times a day can add up quick. What I do is take canned food, I know it’s not luxurious, but if it frees up my funds for a good porterhouse I consider it a small sacrifice. It also allows me more control over my diet. I have been watching my weight for a while now and this is a great way for me to semi follow my diet at a con. A typical convention set of lunches would be something like this (all canned); tuna, asparagus, peaches; beef stew, green beans, mandarin oranges; chicken dumplings, waxed beans, pineapple; and Tomatoes rice and okra, pears. When it’s possible I do try and hit a local grocery store to pick up some fresh fruit, veggies and even greens. It may seem like a lot of work and planning but if I do this I can have all of my convention lunches for under $10.00. You might say that you can’t eat that food in the convention center, but most of the time you leave the show to eat anyway.
I’ll be honest I pack most of these too. I generally only eat out once at a convention. I generally tend to pick a nice place where I can relax with friends. By brown bagging it you can have a true dinning experience in a local you wouldn’t normally visit. Again most of this is canned food but if you do the math I can easily buy about 4 games if I eat out of a can. For dinner I have some rules protein, 3 servings of vegetables, some kind of bread (crackers work), fruit and an occasional dessert.
I actually think this is the most important part of the plan. Snacking gives me that little bit of energy I need to make my next meal. I always carry water with me. One bottle is enough because it can be refilled at the fountain. Then there are what I call staples, dried fruit and nuts. Dried fruit is packed with nutrients and natural sugar. While nuts have protein and fat. I hope you know what protein does, but if not protein is like a the healer of your body. It helps your body make repairs to all kinds of tissues and it maintains your muscles. Fat on the other hand makes you feel full, or better put dampens your cravings. Just make sure it’s a good fat! Stay away from saturated fats if possible they have all kinds health draw backs. The exception to this would be vegetable fats, your body processes them differently. I now that this is actually a huge debate in the nutrition world, but in my experience I believe it to be true. I also carry homemade protein bars, granola, and sometimes my wife makes me pastrami rolls – yum.
These tricks will help you save a lot of money and can be used as a basic guide for your convention meals if you are in relative good health. If you have any ideas for meals that you can take on the fly please post them here.
Tomorrow I will bring you that protein bar recipe.