Rookie of the year makes nutrition no-brainer

Today I made a rookie mistake. One I haven’t made in a very long time. Fortunately, it all turned out okay (well, sort of okay).

I started the morning in the usual way. Coffee, water and a healthy breakfast (veggie and egg white scramble with raspberries on the side). Fed the kids and packed their lunches. Filled my cooler with lots of clean eats to get me through the day.

A whole-made pumpkin and oat protein bar for mid-morning (and pre-workout) snack, veggie, quinoa and chicken salad for lunch (and post-workout fuel) and an apple for a late afternoon snack,  while en route to picking up children from school.

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

On most days it would be. But today, after a two-week break from the weight room, I started a new program. It was difficult and I couldn’t finish a couple of the sets with the loads I had chosen. Bummer.

After a quick lunch (and lots of water), I headed to Superstore for a long-overdue stock-up grocery shop (don’t have a Superstore near you? Think big-box, carrying everything from food to electronics to clothing to tires). I knew that I’d be there for awhile and that the cart would be heavy (and difficult to navigate; I seem to always get the one that has a wheel with a mind of its own…) by the time I reached the checkout.

After about 45-min of pushing the (stubborn) cart up and down the aisles, I started to feel sweaty. Not workout sweaty, low blood sugar sweaty. My hands started to shake and I felt light headed. My concentration was shot and I was having a hard time making sense of my grocery list. This has happened to me before (I had chronically low blood sugars in my early 20’s, back when I thought the way to stay thin was not to eat :)) and I usually have an emergency snack on hand for just these occasions.

Not today. My apple was in the car and the little bag of almonds that I always carry in my purse was empty.

I guess there are worse places to be than a grocery store when you need to eat.

My first thought was chocolate. But, there are still five days left in the “30 days without chocolate challenge” (don’t ask me if I’ve cheated already; I have!) and besides, the sugar would just leave me crashing in another hour or so.

I headed over to the ‘natural foods’ aisle thinking that I might find a protein bar to tide me over. Who knew there were so many brands to choose from? Somewhere in my brain was the formula for a ME-approved bar (grams of carbs – grams fibre – grams sugar alcohols should be less than 10), but I couldn’t access it in my low-sugar state, so I grabbed one that wasn’t too high in calories or sugar. (It also happened to be chocolate, but cocoa, not chocolate per se; does that count Kirri?)

Not great, but not horrible either.

Only 10 g of sugar and 180 calories. Protein content was moderate at 8 g and the wrapper says it’s a ‘Whole Nutrition Bar for Women’, so that’s gotta be good too, right?

I felt better almost immediately and was able to manage unpacking and bagging and loading my groceries in the car without too much difficulty.

But I felt tired for the rest of the afternoon. A common response to out-of-whack blood sugars. The reason I eat frequently and minimize my consumption of processed foods is to keep my blood sugars stable. Unstable blood sugars lead to over-eating, over-consumption of simple sugars and a blunting of your body’s insulin response. All three lead to fat deposition and weight gain.

Time to re-pack my emergency food kit. Dried fruit, nuts and a bottle of water. Maybe a pre-packaged protein bar or two. No more rookie mistakes!

Do you keep snacks in your purse or car for ’emergencies’?

What’s your favorite brand (and flavor please!) of protein bar?

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  1. I love lara bars – don’t think they really count as a protien bar, but they have very few ingredients and I can pronounce them all. I always have some on hand (gym bag, purse, car….). My favourite is apple pie. YUM.

    • Okay, Anna, both you and Melanie liked Lara Bars so I’m gonna have to give them a try. Maybe I’ll buy a bunch of different types and do a comparison; taste, carbs, sugar, fiber, protein, cost etc. I’m not affiliated with anybody so I can say what I like about each brand!

  2. I had the same thing happen to me in Superstore!! I had to open a box of Lara Bar’s because I honestly felt I might pass out! I felt so strange and tired for the rest of the day… What type of cooler do you use to bring to work? I think I am going to have to invest in one. Feeling that bad is not worth it!

    • Hi Melanie,
      Anna likes Lara bars too. I’m gonna have to try them. I have a simple ‘six-pack’ Coleman cooler. It’s got a hard shell on the inside (which I can remove for washing; always a good thing!) and a fabric outer layer. I like the long, shoulder strap. It fits my square, plastic Zip loc containers (I know, I really need to switch to glass, but I never heat things in the plastic, so I should be okay?), a piece of fruit, small food items and a small ice pack perfectly. Mind you, I only need lunch and 2 snacks to fit. There are larger versions if you’re out of the house for more than 6 hours at a time…
      I think there might be something else going on with low-blood sugars in Superstore. Sure is in there interest to get you to want to buy more food!

      • Thanks!! I will go and grab a cooler this week! My favourite lara bars are the peanut butter so far! They are great because they have so few ingredients(Dates and peanuts!!)…I would love for you to do a review of other flavours. I love to get them at Superstore because they sell them in boxes for WAY cheaper than I have seen them anywhere else…gotta love superstore for the prices…but I will pass on the strange and sudden attacks!!:)