Who determined that it was necessary to have “just in case” snacks, when driving in the car?
As a young child, I can remember filling up the cooler with sandwiches, cookies, sodas and other edibles for the “long ride” to Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was an approximately one-hour-and-forty-five-minute trip, with traffic. Is it possible that we were preparing for the inevitable delays and unavailability of food along the way? Was it the fear of “what if there’s an accident and we get stuck” that drove our parents to fill the car with more food than people?
As a young adult, the need for “car snacks” permeated every entry into any vehicle, as well as a love for eating on planes, trains, and buses. Seriously, if it’s moving, I’m packing.
Mind you, these weren’t two-day road trips down Interstate-95. These were trips that were easily accomplished between breakfast and lunch, or, lunch and dinner. And yet, no sooner did the car make it out of the driveway and I would hear my father ask my mother, “What snacks did you bring?” As co-pilot of the trip, this was her responsibility. She would reach behind from the front passenger seat into the cooler sitting neatly between us kids in the back, and begin reciting her list: pretzels, grapes, ham sandwich, nuts… When all else failed to satiate, out came the hard candies.
So, I found myself carrying on this tradition with my own children. We drove to the mall: I had snacks. We went to the movies: I had snacks. We went FOOD shopping: I had snacks. For those of us with Overactive Fork Syndrome, those of us who don’t have the “off” trigger reminding us that we’re full, these car rides became one long meal, with a built-in desire (and excuse) to eat. I stopped filling my purse with mini snacks, stopped carrying around boxes of raisins and baggies filled with honeynut cheerios, and stopped pretending that I was doing this “just in case” someone got hungry. I began to embrace the hunger, hoping it would come and signal that it was time, once again, to eat. Little by little, I’m trying to teach my kids that it’s okay to feel hungry, and that is the best time to eat.
OFS Tip-of-the-Day: Resist the urge to eat while in the car. Ignore drive-thrus, opting instead to pull-over and sit at a table to enjoy a meal. Resist the urge to throw a few power bars in your handbag for the “just in case” you’re hungry later. It’s OKAY TO BE HUNGRY! That is just the simple message from our stomachs to our brains that our body needs nutrients.